An iconic memorial commemorating the Scotsman’s first landing in Sydney has been covered up by council workers after activists threatened to vandalise it.
The plaque in Neutral Bay, in Sydney’s north, is dedicated to explorer Ben Boyd who established industry in the area after landing in Australia in 1842.
The famous explorer was also know for his ties to slavery which has recently provoked outrage in the community.
A plaque dedicated to explorer Ben Boyd has been covered up by North Sydney Council workers after they received threats that it could be vandalised or torn down
North Sydney Council Mayor Jilly Gibson said the council decided to take preventative action and board up the plaque before it was destroyed.
‘There has been some fear of the plaque being vandalised or torn down,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘As a precaution we sought advice from police and our council historian and they through it was a good idea that it be covered up for now.’
Ben Boyd is known for black birding islander natives during his exploration, a practice where people were kidnapped from their homeland and taken abroad to work for little or no money.
Ms Gibson said the plaque, along with the infamously named Ben Boyd road, remained an important part of the city’s history.
She said there was no doubt Ben Boyd was a ‘reprehensible man’ due not only due to black birding but for bankrupting the Royal Bank of Australia to fund his whale hunting endeavours.
Ms Gibson said the council held a public discussion 20 years ago on if the name of Ben Boyd road should be changed but the proposal found little support.
North Sydney Council Mayor Jilly Gibson said the council decided to take preventative action and board up the plaque before it was destroyed
Ben Boyd was know for his ties to slavery which has recently prompted outrage from activists
Ms Gibson said the council held a public discussion 20 years ago on if the name of Ben Boyd road should be changed but the proposal found little support
‘There is very strong sentiment in the community that this plaque and the road are apart of our history and we can’t just pick and chose the bits we like,’ she said.
Ms Gibson said historical monuments should be kept to remember past wrong doings and to provide discussion points for future generations.
‘If these plaques had been torn down years ago we would not be talking about black birding now,’ she said.
Source: Daily Mail AU