John Blay, writer and naturalist
Within days of arriving in Twofold Bay in 1842, Oswald Brierly, artist and manager of Ben Boyd’s estate there, wrote of how Boyd imagined himself the founder of a second Rome. They needed only to ‘point to various spots which are to bear our names and thru them live down to future ages’. In his euphoria on establishing an empire based in such a beautiful locality Boyd decided to change its name from Beermuna to Boyd or, optimistically, Boyd Town. But it would never achieve the lofty ambitions of his wildest dreams. He reached out for workers and briefly saw the Aboriginal people as his serfs or peasant labourers. It worked no better than his agitation to reintroduce transportation of convicts, on his way to (briefly) becoming the biggest landholder in the country, financed by capital raised in London, where interest rates were low, and used in NSW where the rates were high. As overlord bringing prosperity to the wilderness, he saw blackbirding as the answer to his problems of finding workers. But his empire failed by 1849 and he was bankrupted.