The repair and removal of graffiti from a statue of Captain Cook in Randwick is underway with Randwick Council confirming that the statue will not be removed.

Randwick Councillors met for an Extraordinary Council Meeting on Monday 11 March 2024 to discuss the issue.

The statue, situated on the corner of Belmore Road and Avoca Streets in Randwick, was vandalised on 15 February with part of the sandstone damaged and the statue partially covered with red paint.

Randwick City Council staff commenced planning for the repair and restoration of the statue the day after it was vandalised.

These works are ongoing and expected to be completed by the end of March.

History of the Captain James Cook statue in Randwick.

The statue commemorates Captain James Cook R.N (1728 – 1779).  Unveiled in 1874, the statue was presented to the Municipal Council of Randwick by H. S. Gibson in 1910.

This is the first statue erected in New South Wales to Cook. It represents the Colonial wish to commemorate Cook in the 1870s and was erected by Captain Thomas Watson in the grounds of his residence Cooks Lodge on the 27th October 1874 on the anniversary of Cook’s birthday. It is an interesting piece of local work, a good piece of statuary and its site on the old road to La Perouse and overlooking Botany Bay is (as Watson intended) historically interesting.

About 12ft in height, on a base of about the same height. Both in Pyrmont sandstone. Situated on a small triangular piece of land surrounded by iron railing set on a sandstone base. Cook is in naval uniform and carrying a telescope, beside him are an anchor and rope, terrestrial globe half draped with a flag and a sextant. The four sides of the base are inscribed with details of Cook`s career and of the donor and of Commodore Goodenough, RN.

James Cook’s first Pacific voyage (1768-1771) was aboard the Endeavour and began on 27 May 1768. Cook’s voyage had three aims; to establish an observatory at Tahiti in order to record the transit of Venus (when the planet passed between the earth and the sun), on 3 June 1769. The second aim was to record natural history, led by 25-year-old Joseph Banks. The final secret goal was to continue the search for the Great South Land. 

Cook reached the southern coast of New South Wales in 1770 and sailed north, charting Australia’s eastern coastline and claiming the land for Great Britain on 22nd August 1770.

Cook’s third and final voyage (1776-1779) of discovery was an attempt to locate a North-West Passage, an ice-free sea route which linked the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. It was on this, Cook’s final voyage, that he discovered the Hawaiian Islands in January 1778. This major discovery would lead to his death – Cook was killed on a return visit to Hawaii at Kealakekua Bay, on 14 February 1779.