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Photographs supplied by Dave Rave

Two plaques commemorate Ben Boyd and his ship the Wanderer. The plaques were covered up in 2020 to protect them from vandalism. 

Boyd left Plymouth in his schooner Wanderer, a unit of the Royal Yacht Squadron, and reached Port Phillip on 15 June 1842, arriving in Port Jackson on 18 July 1842. On coming up the harbour the neighbouring heights were crowded with spectators to see the Wanderer, and the schooner Velocity fired a salute.

By 1844 Boyd was one of the largest land-holders in the colony, with extensive interests in the Monaro and Riverina. He envisaged a bustling settlement at Twofold Bay and established Boyd Town as a port to serve his Monaro properties. A whaling station at East Boyd followed, however Boyd`s financial empire soon collapsed, and he left Australia in 1849 after only seven years in the country.

Boyd was also involved in slavery, and the first shipload of 65 Melanesian labourers arrived in Boyd Town on 16 April 1847 on board the Velocity, a vessel under the command of Captain Kirsopp and chartered by Benjamin Boyd.  Boyd  wanted cheap labourers to work at his expansive pastoral leaseholds. He financed two more procurements of South Sea Islanders, 70 of which arrived in Sydney in September 1847, and another 57 in October of that same year.  Many of these Islanders soon absconded from their workplaces and were observed starving and destitute on the streets of Sydney.  Reports of violence, kidnap and murder used during the recruitment of these labourers surfaced in 1848 with a closed-door enquiry choosing not to take any action against Boyd or Kirsopp.

A memorial plaque to a 19th-century explorer in North Sydney has been covered up after activists threatened to vandalise it. The Neutral Bay plaque for explorer Ben Boyd commemorates the Scotsman’s first landing in Sydney in 1842. Boyd is also known for his links to slavery, prompting activists to call for the plaque to be removed.

North Sydney Mayor Jilly Gibson told Ben Fordham they covered the plaque up in order to protect it. “There have been some vague threats of abducting the plaque or removing the plaque and we didn’t want that to happen. “It is a historic plaque, love it or loathe it, it is part of our history.”
2GB, 13 July 2020.

A tablet commemorative of Ben Boyd was unveiled at the junction of Ben Boyd-road and Kurraba-road, Neutral Bay, on Saturday afternoon. The tablet, which was erected by the Royal Historical Society, was unveiled by Mr. O. E. Friend, the president. Beside it is another tablet, which illustrates, in colours, Boyd's yacht, the Wanderer. This is the work of Mr. E. Drewett, who is on the staff of the North Sydney Municipal Council. The tablets are in close proximity to the scenes of Boyd's home life and his commercial activities at Neutral Bay. Part of his old mansion is incorporated in the property now known as Craignathan. 

The tablet bears the following inscription "To commemorate Ben Boyd, banker, merchant, pastoralist, whaler, a resident of this locality from 1842 to 1849, who was killed by the natives of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands October, 1851. " Alderman Primrose said that Captain Green and Alderman Spain had thought it a suitable opportunity of perpetuating the memory of Ben Boyd by something more explicit than the road which bore his name. The Royal Historical Society had then come into the scene and with it came Mr Drewett, who had illustrated the Wanderer in stone. Mr Friend, unveiling the tablet said that the name of Ben Boyd was one of the most picturesque in the history of Australia.

Captain Watson said that Benjamin Boyd was born of Scottish parents in London. His father was manager of an insurance company. Young Boyd came to Australia as manager of the Royal Bank of Australia, which had its headquarters in London. He brought with him £200, 000. Boyd opened his bank on Church Hill, where the Wentworth Hotel now stood. He also opened stores at Darling Harbour, bought ships and established a whaling industry at Boydtown, on the shores of Twofold Bay. With Boyd came Oswald Brierly, the artist who was placed in charge at Twofold Bay.

Boyd established cattle-runs and sheep stations all over the country. He was unable to pay dividends, and in 1848 the bank sent out another manager. Boyd then left in the Wanderer for California, where he spent 12 months at the gold diggings, but without success. He departed thence in order to found a South Sea republic, but was killed by natives at Guadalcanal Solomon Islands in 1851. All that was found of him being his belt. His ship came on to New South Wales and was wrecked at Port Macquarie. To Australians, Boyd is but a picturesque memory who had great faith in their country but who was 50 years before his time. 
Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), 30 November 1931.




Address:Ben Boyd Road & Kurraba Road, Neutral Bay, 2089
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.840101
Long: 151.217395
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Designer:Mr E. Drewett (Wanderer Plaque)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 28th November, 1931
Front Inscription

To commemorate Benjamin Boyd

Banker, merchant, pastoralist, & whaler.

A resident in this locality from 1842 to 1849.

Who was killed by the natives of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.

October 1851.

R. A. H. S.

Source: MA,H,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au