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Activists attack Capt. Cook’s Australian home

The stone walls are tagged with graffiti in a protest against British settlement

By Associated Press


MELBOURNE, Australia » Activists have sprayed graffiti on the historic home of the 18th-century British explorer Capt. James Cook to protest against Australia's national day.

The stone walls of the two-story building known as Cook's Cottage in Melbourne were painted Thursday night with slogans such as "26th Jan Australia's shame."

Jan. 26 is Australia Day and commemorates British settlement of Sydney in 1788 as a penal colony. Opponents call it "Invasion Day" and regard it as a shameful reminder that Australian land was taken from Aborigines by British colonists without a treaty.

The cottage was originally built in 1755 in the village of Great Ayton in Yorkshire, England, by the parents of the acclaimed seafarer. Cook, who also was the first European to report arriving in the Hawaiian Islands, was a Royal Navy lieutenant in 1770 when he commanded the first European ship to discover the site of Sydney.

The family cottage was dismantled and relocated in 1934 to Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, where it has become a museum and popular tourist attraction. The Melbourne city council describes it as Australia's oldest building.

City workers began cleaning off the paint Friday, and police were investigating.

Detective Senior Constable Scott Gray said it was the third graffiti attack on the building since Australia Day last year. He did not know whether the attacks were linked.

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