statue 'insults Aborigines'
By Nick Squires in Sydney
A statue in Sydney of Captain Cook bearing the inscription that he "discovered" Australia has been denounced as offensive to Aborigines.
Linda Burney, an Aboriginal MP in the New South Wales parliament, said the claim was insulting because it ignored the fact that Aborigines had lived in Australia for 60,000 years when the 18th century explorer arrived.
She conceded that the statue needed to be seen in its historical context; it was erected in the city's Hyde Park in 1879. But she said: "It is insulting in the sense that it is wrong."
The issue was raised by a councillor who recently noticed the inscription.
"It's stating by implication that people of indigenous background did not exist," said Michael Lee. He wants to see a new statue, commemorating an Aboriginal leader.
Richard Waterhouse, a historian from Sydney University, argued that the inscription should not be changed.
He said: "It relates to the fact that all nations need a foundation myth and Cook is part of the British foundation myth of Australia."