Posts Tagged ‘book review’

What year did whaling end in Australia?

February 26, 2010

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.


Maritime History Book Prize

February 24, 2010

Australia's last whaling ships. Photo Copyright Ed Smidt. All Rights Reserved

The Last Whale by Chris Pash was shortlisted for the 2009 Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Book Prize.

Pash said: “I am happy for the recognition it gives to the last whalers of Albany, Western Australia, and happy also that the work of the anti-whaling activists is not forgotten.

“I don’t see myself as a maritime historian – my job was to re-create the sea battle between the last whalers and the group of activists who tried to stop them in 1977.”

Pash said that while whaling was reviled by society today, it played a major part in building settlement in Australia.

“Whale products, not wool, were Australia’s first exports,” he said.

“Understanding both groups – whalers and activists – provides insight into the issues surrounding whaling today.”

The Last Whale, published by Fremantle Presss, captures and preserves the final days of a major part of Australia’s maritime history – whaling. The last whaling station closed in 1978 in Albany, Western Australia.

The $2000 Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Book Prize is awarded every two years by the Australian Association for Maritime History (AAMH) and the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM).

The 2009 prize went to Captain Cook: Voyager Between Worlds (Hambledon Continuum, 2007) by John Gascoigne.

Frank Broeze was born in the Netherlands in August 1945, and died in Perth on 4 April 2001. He was one of the founders of the AAMH and the founding editor of its journal. He was the President of the International Commission of Maritime History and Vice-President of the International Maritime Economic History Association for many years. He also served on the Board of the West Australian Maritime Museum and was its deputy chairman from 1994 until his death in 2001.

Review – Life Etc Magazine

February 19, 2010

(First posted Wednesday, October 15, 2008)

Life etc, the ABC magazine, runs a six-page spread on The Last Whale in its Nov/Dec 2008 issue starting on page 36.

Editor Jane Southward writes : ‘ When it comes to non-fiction books, some of the best come from a writer’s determined passion to reveal the full story about a person, a perceived injustice or a piece of history that changed the world. A fascinating new book, The Last Whale, does exactly this in its detailed look at the events and politics involved in the decision to close down the last commercial whaling station in Australia.’

She finds it incredible that November 20 2008 marks 30 years since Australia harpooned its last whale, a a female sperm whale.

She writes: ‘Writer Chris Pash has spent 25 years researching and interviewing the people involved in whaling and the fight to stop it in Albany, Western Australia, in the 1970s. These events are particularly important to Australian history as the protests were the first direct action by Greenpeace Australia.’