Two weeks of bliss – a road trip to the NSW Far South Coast, no plans, no commitments, just a laundry list of National Parks to visit as we worked our way back to Newcastle.
The Parks we visited were new to us. Each day our trip yielded shared discoveries, natural delights and stunning landscapes. It was just what we needed, reconnection with the land and each other.
But today I write about a building we came across in our travels. A tower, a very big tower. Built by a man with big ideas and ambitions, Mr. Benjamin Boyd.
Benjamin Boyd sailed from Scotland to the colony of NSW in 1842 with entrepreneurial goals in his sights. Within 2 years Ben Boyd became one of the largest graziers and landholders in the state. He had significant interests in whaling and shipping in the Twofold Bay area near Eden NSW. He is remembered in various locations across NSW through use of his name – a township, a street in Sydney – as well as Ben Boyd National Park, the location of Boyd Tower.
Interpretive signage on the walk to Boyd Tower provides the following:
“Boyd saw Twofold Bay as the hub of his financial empire. By locating a Port on Twofold Bay, Boyd could ship wool from his properties on the Monaro and Riverina, whale products from his whaling station and provide shipping transport for other goods in the area. In 1843 Boyd began building a private town called Boydtown, to service the port and hinterland of his dream“.
A few years later inn 1846, Boyd commenced construction of Boyd Tower at Red Point. Sandstone blocks from Pyrmont, Sydney were shipped in and used to create Boyd’s vision of a lighthouse for the area. Building work finished in 1847 however Boyd Tower was deemed unsuitable for it’s intended purpose by the Crown.
Boyd managed to build a church, houses and stories in Boydtown before abandoning his dream in the late 1840s due to financial difficulties and leaving for the Californian Goldfields. Boyd Tower (note: also referred to as Boyd’s Tower in some references) was then purchased by the Davidson family who also owned a nearby whaling station, the tower then becoming a successful whaler’s lookout. Today, it’s part of the story of Ben Boyd National Park, an extravagant and intrinsic part of the colonial history of the area.
So why am I writing about it? I couldn’t stop thinking about Boyd Tower as a dramatic memorial to a self-made man who chanced his luck in a new land, only to be thwarted by financial ruin. He certainly liked attributing his name to things – Boydtown, East Boyd and Boyd Tower are evidence of that. And I also couldn’t help but wonder about a man who chose to commission a large piece of…erm…phallic architecture in his own name. What did that say about him?
Boyd Tower – an historical monument couched within a beautifully rugged national park. A photographer’s delight to study. Definitely worth a visit.