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 up the coast. 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 tower, a very big tower, we came across in our travels. Built by a man with big ideas and ambitions, Benjamin Boyd.
Benjamin sailed from Scotland to the colony of NSW in 1842 with entrepreneurial goals in his sights. Within 2 years he became one of the largest landholders in the state, with 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, Boyd commenced construction of a tower at Red Point. Sandstone blocks from Pyrmont in Sydney were shipped 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 built a church, houses and stores in Boydtown before abandoning his dream in the late 1840s and heading for the Californian Goldfields. Boyd Tower (note: also referred to as Boyd’s Tower in some references) was purchased by the Davidson family who owned a nearby whaling station, the tower then becoming a successful whaler’s lookout. Today it’s an extravagant and intrinsic part of the colonial history of the area.
Boyd Tower is a dramatic memorial to a self-made man who chanced his luck in a new land, only to be thwarted by financial ruin. He enjoyed attributing his name to things – Boydtown, East Boyd and Boyd Tower are evidence of that. But I can’t help but wonder about a man who chose to commission a large piece of phallic architecture in his own name.
Boyd Tower – an historical monument couched within beautifully rugged Ben Boyd National Park. Definitely worth a visit.