Australia’s last whaling station closed operations thirty-five years ago today.
On November 22, 1978, the three whale chaser ships went out from Albany, Western Australia, for the last time.
They didn’t sight a whale the whole day.
The last whale harpooned by Australia was a female sperm whale on the day before (November 21, 1978).
“I’m quite glad that it’s finished,” says Paddy Hart, the last master of the Cheynes II, one of three whale chasers operating out of Australian when whaling ended.
ABC presenter John Cecil, who worked in commercial radio in the 1970s in Albany when whaling was operating, spoke with two former whalers on ABC South Coast local radio.
“At the time I would say it was the best paying job in Albany,” Paddy Hart said.
“And you’d wake up and go to work every day there would be something different. There was always the excitement of the hunt, the adrenalin rush.”
Mick Stubbs, the first mate on the Cheynes II, said: “The camaraderie was just great. There was always the excitement of the hunt, the adrenalin, the rush. There was always something different every day.”
(Disclosure: Chris Pash wrote The Last Whale book about the final days of whaling in the English-speaking world)
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