A historic statue in Sydney, was defiled with red paint resembling blood and black inscriptions during an Anzac Day dawn service.
The monument, dedicated to former NSW Governor Lachlan Macquarie, was defaced with phrases such as "here stands a mass murderer who ordered genocide" and "Lest We Forget the Frontier Wars," the latter also painted in red letters on the pavement leading to the statue.
NSW Police received reports of the vandalism at around 7am on Tuesday, as the Anzac Day Dawn Services concluded. Distraught locals criticized the act, stating it transpired during the Windsor Dawn Service held nearby.
Premier Chris Minns labeled the vandalism "shocking" and "a disgrace" considering its occurrence on Anzac Day.
Paul Hibbins, Hawkesbury district RSL sub-branch president, described the defacement as "horrific" and linked it to a post discussing the history of Lachlan Macquarie and other settlers. Hibbins lamented attempts to "rewrite history" and emphasised the importance of learning from past mistakes.
Liberal leader Mark Speakman called the incident "disgraceful" and demanded that those responsible be apprehended and face legal consequences.
By Tuesday afternoon, the sandstone statue remained marred by paint, with a cleaner stating he was unsure if the damage could be fully repaired.
Graham Lines, the son of a veteran, expressed his anger and humiliation over the act, especially given its timing on Anzac Day. He hoped future generations would appreciate the statue and the history it represents. Lines revealed that similar incidents had occurred in the past and suggested installing CCTV to prevent future acts of vandalism.
A NSW Police spokesperson said they believe the defacement took place during the Dawn Service, between 6am and 7am. They are now urging witnesses or anyone with CCTV footage to contact Crime Stoppers. In NSW, the maximum penalty for damaging or desecrating a monument is $4,400.