Tasmanian premier's statue could go

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The statue of a Tasmanian premier could be removed from Hobart after a city council committee recommended it go due to the man's history of mutilating Aboriginals.

William Crowther was a doctor and Tasmania politician who served as premier for less than a year between December 1878 and October 1879.

He was suspended as a senior medical officer at Hobart General Hospital in 1869 after he was found to have removed the head of an Aboriginal Tasmanian.

The skull of the man, William Lanne, was sent to the Royal College of Surgeons in London.

Hobart City Council's Community, Culture and Events Committee has recommended council vote later this month to have Crowther's statue removed from Franklin Square in downtown Hobart.

The statue would be replaced with artwork from local Aboriginal creatives commenting on Crowther's dark history.

In 2021, Crowther's statue was shadowed by critical artwork, including one of Crowther with red hands, one holding a saw and the other an Aboriginal flag.

"Tasmanian Aboriginal people have expressed their pain about the continued presence of the Crowther statue in Franklin Square," the report said.

Lanne was a whaler, with a love for the sea and outdoors, a "joyful" demeanour and "the best eyes in the straits".

He died, aged 34, from cholera and dysentery.

Crowther removed Lanne's skull from his corpse while an associate removed his feet and hands. Lanne's body was later stolen from his grave.

A senior officer at Hobart General Hospital, Crowther was suspended after colleagues learned of his mutilation of Lanne. Crowther is believed to have mutilated other Aboriginal corpses.

Hobart City Council meets in less than two weeks on Monday, August 15, where it's expected they will vote on permanently removing Crowther's statue.

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