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‘Blackbirder’ Ben Boyd’s name to be removed from National Park

Katrina Condie15 November 2021
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.

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3 Responses to ‘Blackbirder’ Ben Boyd’s name to be removed from National Park

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Robert Cooke, Retired Justice of the Peace NSW Robert Cooke, Retired Justice of the Peace NSW 1:19 am 18 Nov 21

If that’s the case, Parramatta and Ryde Councils should recommend the removal of the name “Marsden” and all reference to Reverend Samuel Marsden who was known in Lachlan Macquarie’s time as the “Hanging Parson’ This rotten man ( Magistrate Samuel Marsden ) committed instances of immense cruelty to indentured young women transported to NSW during the early 1800’s. One case being the severe flogging of a young girl who ran away from being indentured to a land owner who is said to have repeatedly raped and mistreated her. As the story goes, the lass was recaptured and condemned to a cat-o-nine tails severe public flogging at Parramatted.

The victim girl being weak in health and puny died under the lash with no regrets by “Marsden”. This animal of a man also had many convicts severely beaten for minor offences, which included aboriginal people said to have committed so called crimes like taking food when unpaid for their labours.
Marsden also sentenced many of what he regarded as lower class settlers and some ticket of leave convicts to be hanged for minor offences as he believed that hard punishments including hard floggings were the answer to reforming people.
The name “Marsden” should be struck-off all streets so named after him in the Parramatta-Ryde area, including the cemetary and area known as the Field of Mars. This two faced religious ratbag is reported to have instigated the teaching of christian beliefs in New Zealand. Many there believing him to be a do-gooder. Not so, if the truth be known. Marsden is reported to have hated Lachlan Macquarie who threatened to take action against him for his inhumane treatment of many who were brought before him as a magistrate. So, lets strike-out the memory of others who were inhumane
in our history besides Ben Boyd.

Lynette Pearce Lynette Pearce 4:39 pm 18 Nov 21

On behalf of Alfred ( Jimmy) Holmes 86 of 22 Barclay Street Eden. Jim would like that his brother ’Goo’ be remembered in the naming please. Regards Lynette

    Patricia Owen Patricia Owen 7:15 pm 13 Dec 21

    You will be pleased that Jimmy’s nephew Gio’s son is the one that has pushed for the name change.

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