16 November 2021

'Blackbirder' Ben Boyd's name to be removed from National Park

| Katrina Condie
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Ben Boyd National Park

The renaming of the Ben Boyd National Park will celebrate ancient Aboriginal culture. Photo: Flying Parrot.

Ben Boyd National Park near Eden will be renamed in the language of Traditional Custodians, recognising the Aboriginal cultural heritage of the area.

The decision follows requests from local Aboriginal communities to rename the 8900-hectare park due to Ben Boyd’s association with ‘blackbirding’, a practice that involved the coercion of people through deception or kidnapping to work as slaves or poorly paid labourers.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service last year engaged an independent historian, Dr Mark Dunn, to provide a report on the history of Ben Boyd on the NSW South Coast.

Dr Dunn’s report confirms Ben Boyd’s involvement in ‘blackbirding’, which was viewed by many as a form of slavery.

The report found that in the early 19th century, Boyd took people from the islands of what is now Vanuatu and New Caledonia to work on his pastoral stations in New South Wales.

Part of finalising the report involved consultation with local Elders, Aboriginal community representatives and Australian South Sea Islander representatives, as well as Port Jackson and Bega Valley Shire Council.

Ben Boyd National Park

The Ben Boyd National Park covers an area north and south of Twofold Bay at Eden. Photo: Flying Parrot.

Environment Minister Matt Kean says renaming the park will not only celebrate ancient Aboriginal culture but also recognise its importance to Aboriginal people in recent history.

“It is time to acknowledge the real history of Ben Boyd and remove his name from the national park that continues to hold enormous cultural significance for Aboriginal people,” Mr Kean said.

“It is clear from the expert historical analysis that Ben Boyd’s association with ‘blackbirding’ should not be reflected or celebrated in any way in our National Parks.

“There are many people from NSW’s early history who are worth remembering and celebrating, but it is clear from this historical analysis that Ben Boyd is not one of them.”

Ben Boyd National Park

Ben Boyd National Park will soon be renamed. Photo: Flying Parrot.

The next step is to work with local Elders and Aboriginal community representatives to decide on a new name for the park to reflect traditional language. Consultation on a new name is expected to start in the coming weeks.

On agreement, National Parks and Wildlife Service will present the proposed new name to the Geographic Names Board, seeking approval and gazettal of the new name.

The decision follows the NPWS Parks Name Policy that new park names should come from Aboriginal communities. Restoring Aboriginal place names celebrates and recognises the region’s ancient Aboriginal culture and reinstates its importance over recent history.

Established in 1971, the park is home to more than 50 recorded Aboriginal sites, including middens, rock shelters, campsites and long-distance travel routes. These cultural sites continue to provide the local Aboriginal community with traditional and spiritual links to this part of their Country.

Original Article published by Katrina Condie on About Regional.

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Capital Retro9:39 pm 18 Nov 21

Wait till they catch up with Governor Lachlan Macquarie. Just about every place in Australia has a town/street/river/etc. named after him:


Capital Retro2:41 pm 18 Nov 21

“I think a park named after Hitler would have been changed too.”

I don’t think Hitler personally had any slaves.

Capital Retro11:18 am 18 Nov 21

When I left school I started work with one of the 4 big Australian banks. The wages were appalling and I was sent to some very remote towns where barely adequate board and lodgings were arranged by the bank and usually a kickback was paid to someone. Other products like life insurance were “arranged” by the bank and kickbacks were paid.

The net salary was barely enough to survive on, and I had to borrow from relatives to buy clothes and extra food that was required because one cannot survive on boarding house neck chops and fried bread forever.

I reckon this was tantamount to slave labour so are there any lawyers out there who are willing to start a class action against the bank? There were thousands of others just like me in the same predicament.

It is ridiculous to apply today’s standards to historical events or people from eras past and remove all references to our forefathers.

Is it really that different to our great grandchildren destroying our photos and changing their surnames out of disgust, because we (their ancestors) drove car with internal combustion engines and used carbon based fuels to heat and cool our homes!

In what world should blackbirding be seen as an acceptable activity no matter when it was undertaken?

Its not like it was named Ben Boyd National Park in 1845 or forever back in the day. It was named that in 1971…..

I assume Boydtown and Boyd’s Tower will remain their name as is (as they should given he founded/built them).

And the rest of your comment is just utter nonsense and white noise.

I’m not sure why those supportive of name changes link opposition to support of the alleged activities of the individual.

Whilst you ‘assume” that Boydtown and Boyd’s Tower would retain their names, that’s a pretty big assumption. Once there is pressure to delete a person’s name, a domino effect occurs. We’ve only got to look at Coon Cheese, named after its creator.

I agree, my final paragraph was nonsense. It was meant to be. Changing names because we don’t like history is also nonsense.

If someone wants to put up an argument to change Boyd’s Tower or Boydtown’s name, then they are open to doing that. There is no suggestion as part of this decision that is on the cards.

I’m intrigued what ‘dominoes’ were involved in the decision around coon cheese? You raise it as an example, but I don’t see how it demonstrates the point at all…

If it was called Hitler or Stalin National Park, would you be against renaming it?

Pretty reasonable decision to change the name. Look forward to hearing what its new name will be. Its a stunning part of the coast.

I’m generally opposed to try to rewrite history using current morality but even a cursory look at the records indicates that Boyd was a rogue.

Probably not a slaver but he brought Islanders to NSW and treated them dreadfully.

He also swindled investors & was clearly a borderline criminal. I’m happy for the name to be changed.

Capital Retro1:21 pm 16 Nov 21

This is not helpful if we are one day to achieve reconciliation.

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