Proposed Ben Boyd Road Renaming

Council is seeking community feedback on the proposed renaming of Ben Boyd Road. Following recent heightened public awareness of Ben Boyd’s activities and legacy, Council received and heard a number of views from the community (both formally and informally), questioning the appropriateness of the ongoing honouring of his name.

At its meeting on 26 April 2021, the Council resolved to seek community feedback through an online survey as to whether there is support for a road name change, and if there is support for change, what they would prefer the new name to be from the three options below.

 

Background 

Ben Boyd was a colonial entrepreneur and Neutral Bay resident who, in the 1840s, pioneered the practice of securing cheap labour from the South Sea Islands known as blackbirding. Many, then and since, have regarded it as a form of slavery. 

 

Community views 

  • Some people within the community would like Ben Boyd Road to be renamed as they do not believe that Ben Boyd should continue to be honoured in this way.
  • Some people in the community believe the name should remain the same because they do not believe that the history, regardless of whether it is good or bad, should be expunged.
  • Council is consulting the community, especially those who live on Ben Boyd Road and would be impacted by the change, to gauge community views.

Options and Survey

Community members are invited to fill out a survey to indicate whether they support a road name change, and if there is support for a new name, the preferred new name from the following options - 

 

Option 1 - name derived from the indigenous history of the area

 

Barangaroo Road -Barangaroo was a Cammeraygal woman. Her country therefore spanned present-day North Sydney. She was the wife of Bennelong. A woman of strong personality, she was frequently mentioned in early colonial accounts. The headland at Darling Harbour is named after her. The name Barangaroo Road acknowledges that North Sydney was her place.

Option 2 - name derived from the non-indigenous history of the area

Neutral Bay Road -This name simply refers to the location and destination of the road. It is a major thoroughfare through Neutral Bay and down to the Bay itself.

Option 3 - other

Reconciliation Road -There are some 60,000 descendants of South Sea Islander people brought to Australia, often under duress, to work as cheap labour on sugar plantations in northern Queensland. It was Ben Boyd who pioneered that practice of indentured labour or ‘blackbirding’. The commemoration, and indeed celebration, of Ben Boyd is deemed hurtful by many of the descendants of those transported to Queensland. The name Reconciliation Road acknowledges that feeling.

 

You can complete the survey here. Feedback closes 18 July 2021. Alternatively you can lodge a submission by emailing yoursay@northsydney.nsw.gov.au or write to North Sydney Council, PO Box 12, NORTH SYDNEY NSW 2059.

 

 

Posted on 17 June 2021

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