A Corner full of Characters

Watching the blokes repairing the nets and the shipwrights repair­ing the boats on a sunny day beside the sapphire waters of Twofold Bay, it is hard to imagine Eden without a fishing fleet. Regardless of econom­ics, there are too many families dependant on the industry. Eric Fletcher has been building fishing boats and pleasure cruisers for 28 years at Eden and he points out that most of the boats bear the names of women in the fishermen s families. ‘Melissa Kelly’ for instance, is his own grand-daughter’s name. The future of fishing at Eden will be a barometer of the industry throughout Australia. Some of the fishermen look up from the wharf at the forested hills and point out that the woodchip industry employs many people in Eden but most of the profits go to Japan. They hope the same won’t happen in their industry. Boydtown Boydtown, the monument a man erected to himself is as full of con­tradiction as the great Ben Boyd himself. Built by Boyd as a port for his whalers and for the export of his mil­lions of sheep, the village once supported 500 people. All but two of the buildings have since been razed by fire or looting since the death of one of Australia’s most influential colonists. Boyd’s empire began to crumble and he took to the Californian goldfields to repair his fortune but on his return journey he was killed by South Sea natives or in the opinion of some historians took flight under a different name to avoid his creditors. With the disappearance of Boyd, Boydtown gradually began to fold up and with the demise of whaling collapsed entirely. The buildings, church and land have had a succession of owners who have sought to de­velop the tourist potential of one of Australia’s most historic areas — the town which almost became Australia’s capital. Boydtown is now owned by a group of Sydney businessmen who sought to develop the caravan park and introduce a housing estate over looking one of the most beautiful bays in Australia. Troubled economic times have prevented the promised developments and a restless shire council is making noises about forcing an upgrade of the camp park while a yellow blanket has been put on the historic buildings by the New South Wales government preventing any further work to be done.
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