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Franklin Square statue of William Crowther cut off at the ankles in overnight attack

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

A controversial statue in Hobart’s Franklin Square has been ‘cut off at the ankles’ overnight in an attack authorities have labelled as unacceptable.

The fate of the William Crowther statue was due to be decided today, following an appeal to the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to keep it in place after a previous decision to remove it.


The statue was found face down on the ground on Wednesday morning, while the plinth was spray painted with the graffiti “What goes around” and “decolonize”.

City of Hobart chief executive Michael Stretton has promised to work with police to “identify and hold those responsible accountable”.

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

“While we recognise the intense community sentiment surrounding this council asset, we firmly believe that vandalism and destruction are not acceptable responses,” he said.

Council crews and Tasmania Police officers were seen on-site on Wednesday morning, inspecting the damage and cordoning off the area.

The Crowther statue on Wednesday morning. Image / Supplied

The statue was most recently damaged earlier in the week when both ankles were partially cut with what appeared to be an angle grinder.

The previous attack prompted Councillor Louise Elliot to offer a $1,000 reward for “information that leads to convictions”.


“I condemn the damage to the Crowther statue. The statue was paid for by the people of Hobart in 1880’s and the people of Hobart have again be fighting to save it,” Elliot said.

“The arrogance to think that you can destroy public property for your own narrow minded activism is astounding.”

The statue’s removal has been a contentious issue since it was first proposed, with calls for it to go due to its association with the decapitation of Aboriginal man William Lanne.

The William Crowther statue in Franklin Square. Image / Pulse

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre has previously expressed their disappointment at the appeal process and accused those behind it of attempting to slow down the removal process.

Updated 12pm Wednesday May 15: The Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (TASCAT) have ruled in favour of permanently removing the statue.

The tribunal upheld the Hobart City Council’s 2022 decision to pull down the statue of William Crowther on Wednesday morning.

“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.

“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.”

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