An interview with Chris Pash (author of The Last Whale published this month by Fremantle Press) about the final days of whaling in Australia. A short extract follows. The full 20 minute interview can be listened to here
(Note: describing August/September 1977 when anti-whaling activists arrived at Albany, Western Australia, to take direct action against Australia’s last whaling station. Chris Pash was a reporter for the local newspaper, The Albany Advertiser)
Chris Pash: The action was actually quite spectacular. In my view, the activists were completely crazy… but magical if you like. They took these open boats, Zodiacs, inflatable rubber boats that the whalers liked to call Rubber Duckies — a nice little put-down — and they attached outboard engines to them and they didn’t have a mother ship or anything, they followed the chasers, the three last whaling ships, out to the continental shelf, about thirty nautical miles. That’s over the horizon, so you can’t see land. And I watched this and couldn’t believe it. I mean, I can still give you thirty good reasons in about ten seconds why I shouldn’t go into an open boat in the Southern Ocean over the horizon and throw myself in front of an explosive head harpoon.
Chris Pash: I was struck by the absolute pure belief of the activists that what they were doing was right. And they did something dangerous and crazy, but it was magical as well.
I think within us all we want to tilt at windmills. We see something, we know it’s wrong, and we know all the risks involved, but we still go ahead and do something about it. And personally, as I say, it makes me look inward and realise there are a lot of reasons I wouldn’t do that, but I admired these people who did.