Reflecting on the legacy of Benjamin Boyd

The Eden Killer Whale Museum … absolutely outstanding.
The Eden Killer Whale Museum … absolutely outstanding.

I first came across the name of pioneering entrepreneur Ben Boyd (1801-51) many years ago when I lived briefly in the Sydney harbourside suburb of Neutral Bay.

Just around the corner was Ben Boyd Road, complete with commemorative plaque.

There are plenty who’d argue that Boyd, who was elected to the NSW Legislative Council, was someone who started many ambitious projects but finished very few of them.

And they’d have plenty of evidence on their side, though he is quite fondly remembered on the state’s south coast, near Eden, where he commenced the Boydtown settlement on the shores of Twofold Bay, once site of a prolific whaling industry.

Gorgeous Twofold Bay … the outlook across the Seahorse Inn’s back lawn.

Gorgeous Twofold Bay … the outlook across the Seahorse Inn’s back lawn.

Like many of Boyd’s visions, Boydtown fell into decay, but it has been substantially rebuilt into a fine resort that looks back over Twofold Bay to Eden, and trades as the Seahorse Inn.

It’s well worth checking out, especially for its dining options — the classy, upmarket Bettena’s Restaurant, and the more casual Brasserie, where I had a very satisfying lunch, including a hearty dish of pasta with fresh seafood.

 Delicious, hearty fare — a dish of pasta and seafood at the Seahorse Inn’s Brasserie.

Delicious, hearty fare — a dish of pasta and seafood at the Seahorse Inn’s Brasserie.

Many of the rooms have patios overlooking Twofold Bay and make an excellent spot for a twilight drink after a long day’s touring.

A considerable stretch of the coast south has been designated as Ben Boyd National Park, which contains many reminders of the whaling days, including the Old Davidson Whaling Station, with its original wooden buildings and many historic relics.

History aplenty … the Old Davidson Whaling Station.

History aplenty … the Old Davidson Whaling Station.

There’s also an 800-metre return walk of moderate difficulty to Boyd’s Tower, which was initially intended as a lighthouse but remained unfinished and was used instead as a whale-spotting station.

Accommodation-wise within the park, there are good camping options and the heritage-listed Lightstation Keepers’ Cottages at Green Cape.

A miniature reconstruction of Ben Boyd’s Tower welcomes guests to the Seahorse Inn.

A miniature reconstruction of Ben Boyd’s Tower welcomes guests to the Seahorse Inn.

Eden very much plays on its maritime heritage which has two main focal points — a busy, picturesque working dock and the beautifully constructed and maintained 1938-vintage Eden Killer Whale Museum.

Be prepared to devote at least a couple of hours to exploring each of these.

The museum is absolutely outstanding and was built largely as a tribute to ‘Old Tom’, who led a pack of killer whales in what was a unique partnership with the local whaling fraternity early last century.

There are plenty of dining options both in Eden and nearby.

One I was particularly taken with was Ritzy Wine and Tapas Bar, in the heart of Merimbula.

The atmosphere is laid-back and funky, the food mainly consists of delicious shared plates, and there’s plenty of emphasis on local seafood, including some delicious octopus.

John Rozentals was a guest of Destination NSW.

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