Calls for historic NSW village on the far south coast to be renamed for ‘racist’ links to slavery

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The historic city of New South Wales could be renamed for its ‘racist’ ties to slavery

  • Growing calls for a small beach village on the far south coast of NSW to be renamed
  • Boydtown founded by Benjamin Boyd, considered Australia’s first ‘Blackbirder’
  • He shipped South Sea Islanders to Australia and operated them as slave laborers
  • A real estate developer who owns 700 hectares in the village has indicated that it will provide support
  • Lyon Group Australia to work with the local indigenous community on a proposal

The controversial name of a historic beachside village on the far south coast of New South Wales is under threat due to its racist origins as slave labor.

There are growing calls led by the local indigenous community to drop the Boydtown name, in connection with the Scottish colonial entrepreneur who founded the village of Sapphire Coast in the mid-1800s.

A short drive from the nearby town of Eden, Boydtown was the original Twofold Bay settlement founded by Benjamin Boyd, considered Australia’s first ‘Blackbirder’ to ship South Sea Islanders to Australia and exploit them as slave labor.

Boyd’s controversial legacy has become increasingly critical in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and a renewed campaign for indigenous rights.

The campaign to rename the village has come a step closer after the large landowner in the village hall has expressed his support to 70 residents.

The name of the NSW village of Boydtown may be dropped due to racist origins due to slave labor.  Pictured is a woman outside the Seahorse Inn, the village's historic hotel

The name of the NSW village of Boydtown may be dropped due to racist origins due to slave labor. Pictured is a woman outside the Seahorse Inn, the village’s historic hotel

Lyon Group Australia owns 700 acres in Boydtown, including the historic Seahorse Inn and a caravan park, along with pastoral and residential land.

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Should Boydtown’s name be changed?

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  • No 8 votes
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The real estate development company has agreed to investigate a possible name change and to work with the indigenous community.

‘We have looked at history and we know that the name Ben Boyd is related not only to the subjugation of the indigenous people in the area, but also to’ blackbirding ‘- the use of South Sea Islanders practically 19th century. century, ”director Mike Milliken told the Sydney Morning Herald

“All I can say at this point is that we are very sympathetic to local indigenous wishes.”

Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council Chairman BJ Cruse described the name of nearby Ben Boyd National Park as ‘a slap in the face’.

He welcomed the recent move of Lyon Group Australia and looks forward to meeting with executives in the coming weeks.

There are growing calls to change the name of Boydtown on NSW's far south coast, named after the Scottish colonial entrepreneur who founded the settlement.

There are growing calls to change the name of Boydtown on NSW's far south coast, named after the Scottish colonial entrepreneur who founded the settlement.

There are growing calls to change the name of Boydtown on NSW’s far south coast, named after the Scottish colonial entrepreneur who founded the settlement.

‘I think it’s the first foot in the door. We want the name to change because of what that man represents. It caused much misery among the indigenous people and the people of the Pacific islands. It will be a long time, but it is well received, ‘Mr Cruse told the publication.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Lyon Group Australia for comment.

The first two boatloads of South Pacific Islanders Boyd that Boyd brought to Australia in 1847 were “ naked, wild and restless ” with no understanding of the five-year contracts they had entered into.

“None of the natives spoke English, and they were all naked ..”.[T]hey all around us and looked at us in utter amazement and felt by the texture of our clothes … they seemed wild and restless, ‘the clerk of the local court of magistrates described them at the time.

Boydtown village in Sapphire Coast (pictured) has 70 residents and is in the headlines over its controversial name

Boydtown village in Sapphire Coast (pictured) has 70 residents and is in the headlines over its controversial name

Boydtown village in Sapphire Coast (pictured) has 70 residents and is in the headlines over its controversial name

Ben Boyd National Park name is also reviewed by NSW government.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service has appointed an independent historian to discuss Boyd’s history in “ nineteenth-century blackbirding. ”

Consultations with community elders and other stakeholders will begin in the coming weeks with a final report due later this year.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for our indigenous people and their living history,” NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean told ABC in 2020.

‘Our national parks are about connecting people, not about dividing them.’

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