A Sydney activist has been charged with “damaging property” and “defacing a protected place” after a quote from New South Wales’ former Governor Lachlan Macquarie was allegedly stuck onto his statue with glue.
Stephen Langford, 61, has been charged and spent the night in a police lockup after being initially denied bail.
Images widely circulated on social media showed a poster, which was stuck onto the base of the statue in Sydney.
“All Aborigines from Sydney onwards are to be made prisoners of war and if they resist, they are to be shot and their bodies to be hung from trees in the most conspicuous places near where they fall so as to strike fear into the hearts of surviving natives,” the quote from the governor read.
“We have to know the truth, we have to know the history,” Mr Langford told SBS News.
“Then we can decide what to do, if we have just propaganda or just completely one side gloss over version of history, then we are in the dark, then we are making stupid decisions or not knowing ourselves,” he said.
Mr Langford said he is a long-time activist but had only recently become engaged with Indigenous issues after “the penny had dropped” about the “truth of the colonial project”.
He said it was important that people know the truth about Macquarie’s words and actions.
“He was involved in the colonial project, which involves the theft of land and killing people. He was killing the Indigenous people, he was within a criminal colonial project, so what you do then is criminal,” he said.
Mr Langford said that it was important to have an honest discussion about our history as a nation.
“There should be a real discussion, not baloney about what did happen and what to do now, fortifying things is not the answer, there should be a real discussion with Aboriginal people involved and leading it,” he said.
Mr Langford is due in court on Monday.