Renaming of Ben Boyd National Park

Ben Boyd National Park on NSW's far south coast has been renamed as Beowa National Park, meaning ‘orca’ or ‘killer whale’ in Thaua language recognising the Aboriginal cultural heritage of the area.

Aerial view, Saltwater campground, Ben Boyd National ParkThe decision to rename Ben Boyd National Park follows requests from Aboriginal communities to rename the park due to Benjamin Boyd's practice of 'Blackbirding'.

In the early 19th century Boyd took people from the islands of what is now Vanuatu and New Caledonia to work on his pastoral stations in New South Wales. This practice, which Boyd started, later developed into what became known as the 'Blackbirding trade'.

The significance of a name

Naming a place carries enormous significance as it gives an understanding of what it is and who it belongs to. Restoring Aboriginal place names celebrates and recognises the region's ancient Aboriginal culture and reinstates its importance over recent history.

The name ‘Beowa’  celebrates the important connection between the park’s coastline and the spiritual lives of its first inhabitants, as well as their beliefs and cultural practices associated with the ocean, in particular orcas.

The new name for the park was chosen through an extensive consultation process with more than 60 representatives from the Aboriginal and South Sea Islander community.

Research and consultation

Last year, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service engaged an independent historian, Dr Mark Dunn, to examine the historical record of Benjamin Boyd on the NSW South Coast, and specifically his role in 'Blackbirding'.

Part of finalising the report involved consultation with local Elders, Aboriginal community representatives and Australian South Sea Islander representatives and Bega Valley Shire Council.

The Historical Analysis and Evaluation Report confirms Benjamin Boyd's involvement in 'blackbirding', which, even at the time, was viewed by many as a form of slavery.

Next steps

We are now installing park signage carrying the new name Beowa National Park.

Aerial images, Bittangabee campground, Ben Boyd National Park