Part successful businessman, part scoundrel, Benjamin Boyd helped develop tourism on the South Coast of New South Wales.

Story John Dunn 

If controversial colonial entrepreneur Benjamin Boyd sailed his dashing yacht Wanderer back into Nullica Bay, on the far South Coast of New South Wales near Eden, today, he would like what he saw. Likewise, if the late Richard Whiter, a Victorian camping-park proprietor, was to drive there again through the mountains from Lakes Entrance, he would be equally impressed. And both would meet Sydney developer Bruce Lyon, the man who has brought their vision to life.

The attention of all three would centre on the Seahorse Inn and its historic and attractive surrounds on the water’s edge. They remain the focal point of Boydtown, an optimistic 176-year-old settlement founded by Boyd as the base of his pastoral and whaling empire. It was revived temporarily by Whiter, who planned an expansive holiday site, but was thwarted by World War II and changing family circumstances. Now, decades later, it has been revived as a tourist destination.

“Boydtown is a fascinating part of early Australia and deserves to be preserved,” says Sapphire Coast tourism chief Christopher Nicholls, who also heads a committee that is keen to open a history centre and shipyard to commemorate Boyd.“This will cater to visitors attracted by the colourful background of Boyd and the town he created and the striking, scenic setting in which it stands,” he says. “We want to remember Boyd and the maritime history of this area, with what would be an important and valuable social enterprise for the coast.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #122

Outback Magazine: December/January 2019