The 10-metre statue has loomed over Sheridan St in Cairns for half a century, recently drawing more widespread attention both as a symbol of Australia’s colonial past, and for its pose.
The Cook figure had one arm outstretched, which prompted some comparisons to a Nazi salute.
But new owner Martin Anton – who snapped up the statue for $1 – dismissed the recent controversy, saying he felt it had been partly whipped up by the media.
“It’s just good that it’s in the right hands, that’s what I’m happy about,” he told the Today Show.
He said the statue was an “icon”, and that while he respected the opinions of people who disagreed with him, he felt “95 per cent” of the Cairns population would be happy to see it saved.
“A lot of people unfortunately don’t understand history or have been taught history,” he said.
The statue is in good condition at a new site, though it is currently missing its arm.
“Everybody’s got a story about Captain Cook,” Anton said.
“It’s larger than life in more ways that not.”
The statue’s future is not yet set in stone, but Anton said that would be “chapter two”.