'Blood' on hands of Qld pioneer's statue

Darren Cartwright

A statue of one of Townsville's founders has been defaced with red paint, most likely representing blood, daubed across the hands.

The bronze statue of Robert Towns in the CBD is part of the city's Pioneers Walk, which includes figures like Indigenous land rights champion Eddie Mabo and former mayor John Melton Black.

Towns was a British master mariner and merchant who, according to an Australian National University biography, brought in dozens of Islander labourers to work for him on 12-month contracts in the 1860s.

The contracts included 10 shillings a month, food and housing and a provision that they should be repatriated.

Police have confirmed 'wilful damage' to the statue occurred overnight.

"Police are liaising with Townsville City Council in relation to the incident and are reviewing CCTV of the area," a a police representative said.

Council staff removed the paint this morning, according to the ABC.