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Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal backs Hobart City Council decision to permanently remove Crowther statue from Franklin Square

Pulse Tasmania
The Crowther statue on Wednesday morning. Image / Supplied

A tribunal has upheld a Hobart City Council decision to remove the statue of former Tasmanian Premier William Crowther from its long-standing position in Franklin Square.

The Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (TASCAT) dismissed an appeal from former Hobart Alderman Jeff Briscoe on Wednesday morning, just hours after the statue was toppled in a targeted attack overnight.

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The tribunal found that the removal of the statue would not detract from Franklin Square’s heritage values, as the appellants had suggested.

“The proposal will change the monument and its appearance by removal of the statue and placement of an adjacent sign,” TASCAT president Malcolm Schyvens said.

William Crowther statue cut off at the ankles in overnight attack. Image / Supplied

“That may be regarded as having some negative outcome historically, visually and aesthetically, but there are also positive resulting impacts.”

“An understanding of the change will be fostered through the appropriately sited and scale temporary signage, which is intended to be replaced in time with permanent signage.”

The head and hands of the controversial statue were covered in red by an artist and the Hobart City Council in 2021 to represent his ‘bloody’ history. Image / Pulse

Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said the process to remove the statue had been a lengthy one and that she was disappointed it had been unlawfully cut off at the ankles before the final TASCAT verdict was delivered.

“At the moment the statute is being stored in a safe place and we will continue to care for it,” she said.

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“Our goal will be to reunite the feet with the rest of the statute and certainly care for it and preserve it in a respectful manner, which was always the decision of the council.”

Nala Mansell from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre said she was “happy to hear” the statue had fallen.

Nala Mansell from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre attends a Hobart City Council meeting. Image / Pulse

“I’m not endorsing what’s happened, but I think it goes to show that the people of Tasmania, people who understand right from wrong, are saying enough is enough,” she told Local Radio.

“We’ve been fighting for decades for it to be gone … Good on them for taking that action and doing what needed to be done a long time ago.”

She said the Hobart City Council “have saved a lot of money now and a lot of processes” thanks to those behind the impromptu take down job.

“The statue has now been removed. Let’s look at other statues that are offensive and have no place in history,” she said.

Around $39,000 was spent on the failed appeal to keep the statue in place by the appellants.

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