[Photo by DeeGee’s Photography]

The Light to Light Walk is a history buff’s dream, from the violent and earth-wrenching geological history, through the long and rich history of the Thawa people to the upheaval and change of European settlement.

When it comes to last of those, there is one name that you just can’t avoid down here.

Just as Boyd’s Tower does, the life of a gent by the name of Benjamin Boyd looms large over the past and present of Twofold Bay.

Ben Boyd

Photo courtesy Herald & Weekly Times Portrait Collection, State Library of Victoria

Born in London in 1803, Boyd was a stockbroker and entrepreneur, an ambitious man with big dreams who saw huge potential in the new colony taking shape in far away Australia.

He arrived in Sydney in July of 1842 and established a coastal shipping operation between Twofold Bay and Tasmania.

In 1843, he bought land near Eden, and established Boydtown as his coastal base from which he could ship livestock, wool and tallow from the Monaro hinterland to Sydney and then on to London.

But Boyd was thinking big. At Boydtown he built a hotel, a church, houses, stores, salting and blubber works, a jetty and what he hoped would be a lighthouse. At East Boyd he established a whaling station.

He was trying to create an English feudal manor, with himself as the lord – something he could never have aspired to in England.

Like many overly ambitious businesspeople, Boyd had his ups and downs, raising and losing millions in speculative and questionable deals and lawsuits.

Fleeing bankruptcy he went off to try his luck on the Californian Goldfields, but was purportedly murdered in the Solomon Islands on his way.

Boyd’s financial fortunes were wiped out in the depression of 1841 – 45. His properties and his fleet of steamers were sold for much less than their value. By 1849 the enterprise at Boydtown was closed with most buildings unfinished.

Fleeing bankruptcy he went off to try his luck on the Californian Goldfields, but was purportedly murdered in the Solomon Islands on his way.

But what he started back then has been given new life today. Boyd’s house has been restored as the Seahorse Inn, one of the great visitor attractions in the area. The remains of the church are heritage listed. The Boydtown group of buildings is listed on the Register of the National Estate.

And what he envisioned as being a lighthouse now stands as Boyd’s Tower, a well-known local historic landmark and a proud and lasting reminder of one of the true characters of colonial Australia.

A former editor of the local paper, Jake Lynch left Eden in 2006 to follow his heart, and general sense of adventure, across the United States to work for recreation and community development nonprofits. But some opportunities are just too good to pass up, and he was very easily lured back to join the Light to Light Camps team in 2016.

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