The 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 new name for the park will reflect traditional language and be decided through discussions with local Elders, Aboriginal community representatives, Australian South Sea Islander representatives and Bega Valley Shire Council.
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 as well as Port Jackson and Bega Valley Shire Council.
The Historical Analysis and Evaluation Report has been finalised and confirms Benjamin Boyd's involvement in 'blackbirding', which, even at the time, was viewed by many as a form of slavery.
The next step is listening to and speaking with Elders, Aboriginal community representatives and Australian South Sea Islander representatives, in consultation with Bega Valley Shire Council and inviting their suggestions on a new name for the park. There is no time limit and consultation will not be rushed.
On agreement, National Parks and Wildlife Service will present the proposed new name to the Geographic Names Board seeking approval and gazettal of the new name.