I can see some justification for removing Lee's statue. He fought for a discredited cause which espoused a vile doctrine. Although, as an amateur military historian, I believe Lee should be commemorated for his military genius, not his politics.
I can sympathise with the aboriginal peoples objecting to Cook's statue describing the great navigator as the "discoverer" of eastern Australia. Clearly, aboriginal Australians discovered the East Coast thousands of years before Cook did. There is even some evidence to suggest that Portuguese navigators explored Australia's East Coast a couple of hundred years before Cook.
So, change the inscription on the statute to say something along the lines that Cook was the first known British explorer along the coastline.
But the statue should not be removed, some aboriginal commentators notwithstanding.
I read in the press recently that modern Australia embodies three main strands: the first peoples, the British heritage, and the post-war migrant experience. All three strands deserve their monumeents, their culture, and their celebrations. The British component of Australian history can rightly celebrate the seafaring and exploration triumphs of James Cook in Austtralasia.
The Sydney statue of James Cook should remain, although perhaps with a re-inscription.
I am rather tired of left-wing proponents of the aboriginal cause trying to discredit or tear down aspects of the British heritage – my heritage – in this country. The British arrival in this country cannot be undone. Short of the Indonesians or the Chinese taking over Australia, modern Australia is here to stay, whether the Left likes it or not. Cook's statute is not part of the Australian aboriginal heritage, but it is part of mine. I object to its removal.
As an amateur historian, I also object to facile attempts to re-write history just to suit prevailing political correctness. History is what it is, the good with the bad. A nation that tries to ignore its history, even the inconvenient bits, ignores its soul.
As a British Australian proud of my Australian and British heritage (who also happens to think that a treaty with the aboriginal peoples is actually not a bad idea), I call on the Sydney city council to resist pressure to remove Captain Cook's statute.
Aboriginal history and tradition in this country deserve respect; so does mine.