The discovery came on the same day as a statue of Cook in Sydney was defaced, and a day after busts of former prime ministers Tony Abbott and John Howard were vandalised in Ballarat.
Two women have been charged for defacing a Captain Cook statue in Sydney’s Hyde Park.
Xiaoran Shi, 28, faced Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday alongside her friend Charmaine Morrison-Mills, 27, after the pair allegedly graffitied a statue of Captain Cook at about 4am on Sunday.
Ms Shi is a part-time staffer within David Shoebridge’s office and runs Sniff Off, a collaboration between the Greens MP and the NSW Young Greens against police use of sniffer dogs.
The Edinburgh Gardens monument was gifted to the then City of Fitzroy in 1937, according to the Captain Cook Society.
Police are investigating the vandalism, a Victoria Police spokesperson said on Sunday night.
“It is believed unknown offenders caused criminal damage to the statue in Edinburgh Gardens sometime on 14 June.”
The graffiti remained at the site on Sunday afternoon.
According to a conservation management plan prepared for the City of Yarra in 2004, the plaque portrait of Cook is made from bronze and set on a granite plinth.
“The statue is of little or no historical cultural significance to the Edinburgh Gardens,” according to the management plan, prepared for council by Allom Lovell & Associates.
“It can be retained and maintained or removed as required.”
The City of Yarra was contacted for comment, but a spokeswoman was unaware of the vandalism on Sunday.
A statue of Captain Cook in St Kilda was vandalised on January 25, 2018 – the day before Australia Day. Pink paint was poured over the head of the statue of the British naval captain. The words “no pride” were painted below his feet, along with an Aboriginal flag.
Victoria Police are also investigating after statues of Mr Abbott and Mr Howard were sprayed with red paint on Saturday morning.
They have since been covered and fenced off and will be assessed on Monday.
A Captain James Stirling statue in Perth, Western Australia, was on Friday also defaced and a 30-year-old man has been charged with criminal damage or destruction of property.
The statue’s neck and hands were painted red and an Aboriginal flag was painted over the inscription at the base.
Historical monuments around the world have been toppled over the past two weeks as Black Lives Matter protesters march through the streets to call out racism following the death of African American man George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.
In Australia, people have defied public health warnings amid the COVID-19 pandemic and turned out to protest Indigenous deaths in custody and to rally in support of the BLM movement in cities including Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Darwin and Adelaide.
Police have asked anyone who witnessed the Fitzroy North vandalism to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report online at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.
with Sarah Keoghan and AAP
Carolyn Webb is a reporter for The Age.
Rachel is a breaking news reporter for The Age.