History doesn't agree
Your correspondent Jamie Shaw (Letters, 24/3) claimed Ben Boyd was a slave trader but history does not seem to confirm this claim. Lack of labour in the 1840s following the cessation of convicts arriving from England and the depression following the 1839 drought left a labour shortage problem and Boyd's Pacific Islands visits were specifically designed to gain staff for his extensive pastoral activities - not to gather labour for sale to others.
The labourers were employed under the Master and Servant Act - the applicable law at that time. A subsequent alteration to this law by the NSW Legislative Council disallowed it's application to Pacific Islanders, thus freeing them from any contract and leaving them without support. Subsequent investigation by the Attorney General of rumours regarding the recruitment process used by Boyd's party found no evidence of illegality. Any claim of slave trading made would not have involved local natives.
Neither does history seem to confirm the claim that Boyd treated the local Aboriginal people "deplorably".
The return of a vessel to Sydney for repair forced Boyd and his party set up make-shift tents on the shore at Nullica. On the first night, a group of natives nearby were cooking an injured seagull. To supplement what appeared to be a meager meal, Boyd offered them a sheep which had died after coming onshore that day.
One of Boyd's two shore-based whalers was crewed by natives who he stated were experts. He also employed natives on his top-sail schooner locally and on his Pacific voyaging. In 1844,a Sydney newspaper congratulated "Boyd on his successful application of aboriginal labour to the purpose of navigation" and went on to encourage others to follow his example.
Peter Ayling, Merimbula
Tunnel might be the answer
After 32 years negotiating access via Brown Mountain and watching the issues involved, an alternative route is certainly urgent. Given that complex equipment and engineering will be involved in Snowy 2.0, as well as its connections via Gippsland to the Sapphire Coast, it seems a tunnel might be the answer.
The Great Dividing Range runs parallel with its valleys. The few options taken on for East-West are always under fire for one thing or another. Tunnel access for floods and fires should, perhaps, be mandatory if regional development is to be expanded for coastline communities.
Nanette Kennedy, Tura Beach
Transition out of logging
Any proper research of logging looking into post fire forests will uncover the threat to forests that post fire logging causes both to the wildlife and the long term health of the forest being logged.
For too many years I have watched these forests being logged for wood chips. I visited old growth forests in the 1980s that no longer exist and understand the loss of these magnificent places, places of untouched beauty many Australians have never seen.
Trees do not exist to be logged by humans. The attitude of dominance over nature is particularly inappropriate at this time of biodiversity loss and climate change.
Humans are part of a planet under enormous stress and we need now to stop logging now and transition workers to sustainable jobs.
The forests of NSW need to be protected not just for tourism but for the climate change emission reduction they offer.
It is simply unconscionable that this industry continues with the backing of the government. It is shameful and must stop.
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