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Statue of Captain James Cook removed from Sheridan Street, Cairns by new owner

The statue has been brought down after almost 50 years. (ABC Far North: Mark Rigby)

It has been a controversial sight in Far North Queensland for nearly 50 years, but an 8-metre-tall statue of Captain James Cook has now begun its "final tour".

The statue beside the Cairns thoroughfare of Sheridan Street was taken down from its roadside perch at the northern entrance to the regional city on Tuesday.

The block of land it has long called home is slated to become a James Cook University teaching hospital.

Demolition contractor Martin Anton bought the rights to dismantle and remove the controversial statue for one dollar, and said he had "a little bit of butterflies with expectation".

The statue has been controversial in Cairns for years, particularly due to its depicted pose. (ABC Far North: Holly Richardson)

A 'last stand' 

Gimuy Walubara Yidinji man, Isaac, observed the removal of the statue he described as "a very ugly representation of this country".

"Hopefully it doesn't get put up anywhere near Cairns," he said.

The statue's removal was twice postponed due to wet weather.

Riggers Tony and Jake get up close and personal with the statue while preparing to lift it. (Supplied)

"I've been looking forward to this for a very, very long time and it's finally here," Mr Anton said.

"It's his last stand."

Mr Anton said there were lots of challenges associated with the demolition ahead of the statue's "final tour".

"We've got the best people in the business from every walk of life," he said.

A crane and truck are on hand for the removal of an 8-metre-tall effigy of Captain James Cook in Cairns. (ABC Far North: Mark Rigby)

Bon voyage

The statue was removed with a large crane and placed on a truck.

On Wednesday, it will be taken out of Cairns on the Palmerston Highway through Atherton, Mareeba and across the Tablelands region to a property in Mount Molloy.

But it has not yet been decided what the future holds for Captain Cook.

"He's just going to be located on site for storage purposes until the structural engineers have had a chance to go right over him and make sure he's as good now as he was 50 years ago," Mr Anton said.

"You get better with age, don't you?"