Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

The first ‘blackbirder:’ Rebranding for Australian village named after Scottish slave trader

© SYSTEMBenjamin Boyd (21 August 1801 – 15 October 1851) was a Scottish entrepreneur who became a major shipowner, banker, grazier, politician and slaver, exploiting South Sea Islander labour in the colony of New South Wales.
Benjamin Boyd (21 August 1801 – 15 October 1851) was a Scottish entrepreneur who became a major shipowner, banker, grazier, politician and slaver, exploiting South Sea Islander labour in the colony of New South Wales.

An Australian village named after a Scots trader is set to be rebranded as countries around the world reassess the legacy of the slave trade.

Benjamin Boyd, who was born in Wigtownshire, shipped two boatloads of slaves from Melanesia in the Pacific to work on plantations.

He is thought to be Australia’s first “Blackbirder” – a term for the slavers who abducted Pacific islanders before shipping them to Australia.

Now Boydtown, a coastal village of around 70 people in New South Wales named after him, is expected to be renamed amid growing awareness of historical links to slavery.

Most of Boydtown is owned by property development firm Lyon Group which is considering the name change and has hired a historian to help the decision-making process. New South Wales (NSW) is also considering changing the name of nearby Ben Boyd National Park.

Boyd, who arrived in Australia in 1842, was murdered and had his head cut off in the Solomon Islands in 1851 after the crew from his boat shot dead 25 islanders. He has become the latest Scot to become embroiled in moves to strip historical figures linked to slavery of their status in the modern day.

Last year the Melville Monument in Edinburgh, a statue of the Scottish politician Henry Dundas, was vandalised during Black Lives Matter protests because when he was home secretary he had delayed the abolition of slavery.

There were also calls for the statue of James Watt, the father of the industrial revolution, to be removed from George Square in Glasgow when his connection to the slave trade was revealed. Glasgow University faced criticism for naming its engineering school after Watt, despite its own academics having uncovered the evidence of his personal involvement.

© TheCaveman71
Boydtown in Australia.

A plaque in a road named after Boyd in New South Wales describes him as a banker, merchant, pastoralist and whaler but he was also a slaver, and, in 1847, brought 65 islanders to Australia, despite them being illiterate and having no understanding of the five-year contracts they had put a mark to.

The clerk of the local bench of magistrates said at the time: “None of the natives could speak English, and all were naked. They seemed wild and restless.”

Boyd later abandoned them and they were left to wander naked back to Sydney. Amid rumours about Boyd’s recruiting methods, the Aborigines’ Protection Society and the Anti-Slavery Association pressed the Colonial Office in London for an inquiry.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and a renewed focus on the rights of indigenous peoples in Australia, Boyd’s legacy has again been thrust into the spotlight.

Indigenous leaders have called for places bearing Boyd’s name to be changed, and BJ Cruse, chair of the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council, told the Sydney Morning Herald that it was “a slap in the face” to have a place named after someone who wanted to have slaves.

Australia Day: Should anniversary of the British landing be a national day of celebration or apology?

He said: “You immediately think if something is named after somebody, that person warrants some sort of honour because of the way they have conducted themselves.

“They could have named it after any race of person. Government should set the mood by doing the right thing and change the names.”

Historian Dr Marion Diamond, who wrote the book Ben Boyd of Boydtown in 1988, said Boyd’s activities were well known.

She told the newspaper: “It is all there [in the book] on pages 140 to 160. I think the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service are aware that there is an issue with Ben Boyd.”

The news comes after NSW environment minister Matt Kean said he would investigate changing the name of Ben Boyd National Park, located near Eden on the south coast. Last year, the Liberal MP said he was concerned about the issue.

“I have a huge amount of respect for our indigenous people and their living history,” Kean said.

Last year, one of the sporting houses at Neutral Bay Public School bore Boyd’s name before it was changed to Waratah.

But Sharon Tapscott, mayor of the Bega Valley Shire, said some mountains in the area had been given dual indigenous and European names.

“We are quite comfortable with dual names,” she said. Of Boyd, she added: “He did come here as the first European settler, so I suppose you cannot erase that out of history.

“We need to acknowledge that this is the truth of what happened. If you don’t acknowledge the truth and the good or the bad of it you are destined to repeat it.”