Voice of Real Australia: pioneer or blackbird? Ben Boyd Has Naming Rights Withdrawn | Review of northern beaches
Called by some a 19e Century Christopher Skase or Alan Bond, Scottish-born colonialist Benjamin Boyd left a lasting mark on the history of the southernmost coast of New South Wales during the seven short years he was connected to the region .
Noted in history as a colonial pioneer, the recent emphasis on his infamous recruitment of South Sea Islanders as slaves has tarnished his reputation, raising a challenge as to why the local national park should wear its name.
Widely ignored for over 170 years, Boyd’s dishonorable conduct is now the subject of close scrutiny.
Although not the first record of white presence in the southernmost region of the south coast of New South Wales, Boyd’s activity in early Australian history opened up a remote region, effectively putting it on the map.
The deep-water port of Twofold Bay attracted the stockbroker and breeder as he recognized the value it held for his whaling, pastoral, maritime and commercial interests.
Boyd sought to create his own empire upon arriving in 1842, with extravagant plans for business and real estate development. He named his colony Boydtown and traveled between there and Sydney during his tenure in the country.
Known for his ruthless trading connections, Boyd’s name has recently become more widely associated with his connections to the Pacific Islander Blackbird to work at the sheep stations he owned on more than 300,000 acres of land.
Recent historical research has revealed that Boyd’s operations likely marked the beginnings of a labor trade in Australia.
Historian Mark Dunn determined that Boyd’s plans were controversial at the time and viewed as a form of slavery by many of his contemporary critics.
Dr Dunn spoke of Boyd’s contempt for welfare or safe return [of Islanders] as exemplifying colonial indifference to communities outside the borders of what European settlers considered civilized.
One of the largest landowners and ranchers in the colony of New South Wales, Boyd attempted numerous schemes to increase his wealth and recognition, including fraudulently funding his business through the Royal Bank of Australia, before experience great financial difficulties and flee the country.
Boyd is believed to have been executed in retaliation by villagers from Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1851.
Despite the contempt and documented mistreatment that Boyd displayed alongside his deceptive business practices, the national park near Eden was published in the Official Gazette in 1971 and bears his name.
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