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Benjamin Boyd c 1830-40

By unknown artist

In 1842 Ben Boyd sailed into Sydney onboard the luxury yacht Wanderer. Before leaving London, the former stock-broker founded the Royal Bank of Australia, making himself Chairman. Once in New South Wales, Boyd became the bank’s largest customer, using it to finance his many extravagant money-making schemes. He purchased livestock and squatting runs, and built Boydtown, on Twofold Bay, as the base for his whaling operations.

To supply cheap labour for his pastoral runs, he transported Melanesian indentured labourers. This scheme ended in failure and Boyd lost public respect due to his harsh treatment of workers. After seven years in the colony Boyd’s financial empire collapsed and he fled to the Californian goldfields.

He returned to the Pacific on the Wanderer in search of new commercial opportunities, but was killed at Guadalcanal in 1851.

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Collection Item Type:
Oil on canvas
Call Number:
ML 1461
Published date:
c 1830-40
On display:
Exhibition Galleries
Copyright Information:

Out of copyright

Please acknowledge: Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Display Location:
Exhibition Galleries
Historical Dates
Started Saturday, 1 January 1825
Finished Wednesday, 31 December 1845