What year did whaling end in Australia?

The ABC TV program Can we Help? ran a segment (Friday, April 24, 2009), Moment in Time, about the end of whaling in Australia.

On the program Chris Pash, the author of The Last Whale, says: ‘Every boy at school wanted to be a whaler because they were big tough guys and they earned big money and it was a wonderful adventure. In town, they were regarded very well, they were paid well and contributed to the economy.’

The program runs some very good archival footage of protests in 1977 against the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company at Albany, Western Australia. You can download the clip (24/04/2009) Episode 11 Can We Help?

Chris Pash: ‘I quite enjoyed going out on the whaling ships and I like the people themselves, good Aussie blokes enjoying themselves, bit of mateship, bit of fun but the killing bit, I don’t think even they liked that, there was a hint of sadness every time they landed a whale.’

Australia harpooned its last whale, a female sperm whale, in November 1978.

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8 Responses to “What year did whaling end in Australia?”

  1. Adele Millard Says:

    I still have a copy of the special edition of the Albany Advertiser printed on the day of the whaling station’s closure. It was a single sheet, black print on yellow paper. I bought it from one of my classmates, Thomas Meyer, who was a paperboy, on Middleton Road beside the vacant lot that became the Baptist School playground near the York Street roundabout. This detail is as clear in my mind as my memories of where I was when news came about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the release of Nelson Mandela. I was stunned but immensly relieved. I’d got through the first 14 years of my life without ever having to undertake a school trip to the whaling station (mumps having saved me from the experience previously). And now I would never ever have to witness or smell what my less fortunate classmates had told me about!

  2. Hetty Verolme Says:

    I believe that the Whaling stopped in 1977 at the time Malcom Frazer
    was Premier I believe I read in the peper that his daughter requested it.

    In 1991 I made a visit to Albany and walked on the beached Whaling Boat
    quit an experience. I also visited the Museum there I learned that Lipstick
    was made from the fat of the Whale and many more things

  3. Merle Bowden Says:

    reading the ?uizzit cards from that game to find some trivia questions, I find the answer is given at 1979 to the question When did the last Australian whaling station close?

    • chrispash Says:

      Technically Correct.
      Whaling stopped the year before but the physical whaling station closed in 1979. The Cheynes Beach Whaling Company still had an employee, Andy Woonings, working on shutting the place down.
      Whaling operations stopped in November 1978. The last whale, a female sperm whale, was caught on November 20.

  4. Merle Bowden Says:

    Thanks Chrispash, I now fee save in using this question and answer in the quiz night.

  5. antea42 Says:

    The last sentence reads “Australia harpooned its last whale, a female sperm whale, in November 2008” but wasn’t the year 1978?

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