Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Who was Ben Boyd?

The quiet town of Eden sits on the large Twofold Bay in southern New South Wales (NSW).
Far across on the south side of the bay stands Ben Boyd’s folly.

 Zoomed in just a bit closer
 Eden today is a fishing port.
 And a port for the export of wood chips for paper making
 Down on the south side of the bay is a large woodchip processing plant, and the tug is used to manoeuvre bulk carriers into their berths.

If you drive around the bay and walk through the bush, suddenly ahead you glimpse over the storm twisted Melaleuca trees this unexpected sight.
 Looking as if it would be more at home in the UK, this is Ben Boyd’s Tower one of the legacies of an eccentric from the early days of European settlement.

Ben Boyd was a Scotsman who in 1840 raised £200,000 in venture capital to fund development in the Colony of NSW.
Boydtown was founded nearby in 1843 as a port to support a large pastoral empire and as a base for a whaling operation. Four years later a visitor, speaking of the town, mentioned its Gothic church with a spire, stores, well-built brick houses, and "a splendid hotel in the Elizabethan style".
Boyd’s tower was built as a look out to give his whaling boats an advantage in spotting whales as they came north along the coast and he had ambitions that the government would use it as an official lighthouse.
  But Boyd was too grandiose and by 1849 he was bankrupted. He travelled to the California Gold fields, but had no luck. Finally he disappeared at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1851.
Today the Tower that still carries his name is a shell.


Linda G. said...

Thanks for enlightening us about Boyd. :)

mshatch said...

cool tower - btw, I finished the story your pic inspired. Thank you!

Lisa said...

Sounds like Boyd had a great idea, just did too much, maybe too fast. Great to have that folly still there as a reminder of the past and a warning for the future.

Old Kitty said...

Waddya mean he disappeared?!?! How on earth did he disappear!? Awww poor Ben Boyd!!! Now that's a story and a half!!LOL! Take care

Deniz Bevan said...

I hadn't known about this! I love stories about mysterious historical characters.