Ben Boyd National Park in NSW will be renamed due to slave trade ties

The decision follows a push by South Sea Islanders and Natives and the Torres Strait, who were concerned about Ben Boyd’s association with the practice of “blackbird”.

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Blackbird was the word for kidnapping or deceiving Pacific Islanders to work in Australia for no or little pay.

A historian commissioned by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service to investigate the history of the Scottish merchant on the South Coast has found that he brought 192 men and women to NSW to work on his estates and ships in 1847.

Even at the time, his practices were seen as a form of slavery by critics, historian Mark Dunn found.

His second trip to recruit workers “descended into extreme violence” when his ships bombed villages and killed many islanders, Dr Dunn said.

Although his scheme failed after the NSW parliament passed a law voiding his contracts with the workers, the practice of blackbird later became productive in Queensland.

About 62,000 men were brought to work on plantations in northern NSW and Queensland between 1863 and 1904.

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“It is clear from the expert historical analysis that Ben Boyd’s association with‘ blackbird ’should not be reflected or celebrated in any way in our national parks,” Mr Kean said.

“There are many people from the early history of NSW who deserve to be remembered and celebrated, but it is clear from this historical analysis that Ben Boyd is not one of them.”

A consultation will now begin with First Nations community representatives to find a new name for the park.

“By renaming the park, we are not only celebrating ancient indigenous culture but also recognizing its importance to indigenous people in recent history,” Mr. Kean said.

Boyd, who was killed by islanders at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands group in 1851, also has a road named after him in Neutral Bay in northern Sydney.

The North Sydney Council decided against renaming the road in September.

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