The park was established in 1971 covering 8,900 hectares and was named after Benjamin Boyd. It has since been expanded to cover 10,486 hectares. Boyd was a wealthy pastoralist and businessman in the 1840s, with interests in shipping (including whaling), based on the South Coast of NSW. At the time, the area was part of the District of Port Phillip and Boyd was elected to the NSW Legislative Council for the electoral district of Port Phillip. He was the first in Australia to engage in blackbirding, a practice akin to slavery, when a ship he had commissioned brought 65 Melanesian labourers to Boyd Town in 1847.:382 In the wake of the George Floyd protests around the world and in Australia and the Black Lives Matter movement gaining pace in May–June 2020, calls for the National Park to be renamed were renewed. Matt Kean, the NSW Environment Minister, commented that "national parks are about connecting people, not dividing them", and promised to seek a briefing about renaming the park and then to consult with local elders and the community.
The park consists of two sections, on either side of Twofold Bay and the town of Eden. The smaller northern section is bounded on its western border by the Princes Highway. The geology of this section is mainly sedimentary rock (ironstone and clay) laid down in the Paleogene, with some quartzite outcrops. The main attraction for tourists is the Pinnacles, a multicoloured erosion gully with white sands overlaid by rusty red clay. The southern section coastline is metamorphic and Devonian in age, with some heavily folded sections at Red Point, near Boyd's tower.
The park is fairly flat, with none of the northern section exceeding 100 metres in elevation, and the southern section not much higher; the tallest peak is Haycock Hill at 252 metres. The region is particularly windy, dry and cold, and the headlands are covered in a low ground-hugging heathland community of plants. Further inland, the heath is replaced by open eucalypt woodland, which makes up most of the park's habitat. The two dominant tree species are silvertop ash (Eucalyptus sieberi) and red bloodwood (Corymbia gummifera). There are also scattered pockets of rainforest in gullies and protected areas, with species such as the scentless rosewood (Synoum glandulosum) and smooth mock-olive (Notelaea venosa).
212 species of bird have been recorded in the park, with the heathlands being home to the eastern ground parrot and endangered eastern bristlebird. The little tern breeds in the sand dunes and beaches and is threatened by recreational four-wheel driving. The park forms part of the Ulladulla to Merimbula Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance for swift parrots.
Fifty species of mammal have been recorded. Pests recorded include cats and foxes, both which have covered the park, occasional feral dogs, and rabbits in previously cleared areas and picnic areas. Bitou bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera) is a problem weed north of the Pambula River.
- "Department of Environment Climate Change and Water Annual Report 2009-10". Department of Environment Climate Change and Water. November 2010: 274–275. ISSN 1838-5958. Cite journal requires
- "Great Circle Distance between BEN+BOYD+NATIONAL+PARK and SYDNEY". Geosciences Australia website. Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- Wright, p. 223.
- Wellings, H. P. M. (1940). Benjamin Boyd in Australia (1842-1849) Shipping Magnate; Merchant; Banker; Pastoralist and Station Owner; Member of the Legislative Council; Town Planner; Whaler. D S Ford. p. 29 – via State Library of Victoria.
- Walsh, G. P. (1966). "Boyd, Benjamin (1801-1851)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 17 June 2020 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
- "EXPORTS". Sydney Chronicle. 4 (370). 21 April 1847. p. 2. Retrieved 17 June 2019 – via National Library of Australia.
- Binney, Keith R. (2005). "Benjamin Boyd". Horsemen of the First Frontier (1788-1900) and the Serpent's Legacy. . pp. 377–384. ISBN 9780646448657.
- Lauder, Simon; Reardon, Adriane (16 June 2020). "Minister seeks brief on renaming Ben Boyd National Park to address its namesake's blackbirding history". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
- Searle, Garry. "Ben Boyd Tower". SeaSide Lights. Archived from the original on 16 February 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- Wright, p. 220.
- Wright, p. 224.
- "Ben Boyd National Park: Native vegetation". Office of Environment & Heritage website. NSW Government. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
- Wright, p. 225.
- BirdLife International. (2012). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ulladulla to Merimbula. Downloaded from "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 June 2007. Retrieved 2012-09-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) on 2012-01-02.
- "Ben Boyd National Park: Native animals". Office of Environment & Heritage website. NSW Government. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
- "Ben Boyd National Park: Pest animals and weeds". Office of Environment & Heritage website. NSW Government. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
- Wright, Peter (1996). National Parks of Southern NSW. Rosebery, NSW: Bridge Printery. ISBN 0-9587590-1-4.
- Ben Boyd National Park official website, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
- Searle, Garry. "Ben Boyd Tower". Lighthouses of New South Wales. SeaSide Lights.