Posts Tagged ‘save the whale’

The Phantom Returns

July 2, 2010

The Phantom, Jean-Paul Fortom-Gouin, has emerged from the jungle.

As chronicled in The Last Whale, The Phantom took a leading role in the original Save the Whales campaign which eventually saw the end of ‘commercial’ whaling and the creation of the South Ocean Sanctuary.

The Phantom was spotted in Morocco in June 2010 where the International Whaling Commission was meeting. He told friends he was again taking an active role to stop whaling. He’d withdrawn from the world stage in the 1980s because he felt the whales were safe. This had dramatically changed with proposals which may allow commercial whaling again.

See the photograph taken by Australian Jonny Lewis. Jonny and Jean-Paul formed the Whale and Dolphin Coalition in 1977 to take action against Australia’s last whaling station in Albany, Western Australia.  They both piloted Zodiac inflatable boats to run interference against the three vessel Australian fleet.

It was Jonny Lewis who coined the nickname The Phantom after Jean-Paul’s ability to appear out of nowhere to fight evil.

Jonny Lewis and Jean-Paul Fortom-Gouin reunited in Morocco. The Phantom was particularly concered at Japan’s plans to take Cachalot (sperm whales) which have the largest and most complex brains on the planet. He regards these whales as his personal totem.

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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 – Sydney Morning Herald (March 2008)

February 23, 2010

The Sydney Morning Herald 21 March 2008

Reviewer Bruce Elder said: “Given that whaling seems to be an eternally controversial issue it is a huge compliment to ex-journalist Chris Pash that he has managed to find an objective middle path in this engrossing story of the first Greenpeace campaign in Australia, which resulted in the closing of the country’s last whaling station in Albany, Western Australia.”

The Last Whale is published by Fremantle Press.

Elder said: “This is an important story but lacks any sense of Moby Dick-like romance because, by 1977 when the protests occurred, whales were hunted with sonar and planes and killed with 55-kilogram harpoons driven by 185 grams of gunpowder.”

Review – The Age

February 19, 2010

(First Posted Saturday, October 25, 2008)

Fiona Capp in The Age newspaper today (Saturday, 25th October, 2008) reviews The Last Whale by noting that few issues raise such emotion as whaling.

However, the author, Chris Pash, doesn’t hit the reader over the head with the anti-whaling case.

‘By telling the story of the final years of the industry in Australia from both the whalers’ and the protesters’ perspectives, he (Chris Pash) captures the shift in public mood that made whaling morally unacceptable,’ Capp writes.

She says the book includes intriguing characters, both whalers and anti-whaling protesters, who carry the emotional freight of the story. One such character is Jean-Paul Fortom-Gouin, a Frenchman known among anti-whaling activists as The Phantom. He financed the direct action against Australia’s last whaling station in 1977.

The Last Whale follows the lives of the whalers who operated the last whaling station in the English-speaking world and the activisits who tried to stop them. Chris Pash was a young reporter at the local newspaper, the Albany Advertiser, during the direct action against the whalers, the first campaign by Greenpeace in Australia.

The last whale harpooned by Australians was a female sperm whale off Albany, Western Australia on November 20, 1978. The whaling station closed the next day. The 30 year anniversary of the closure will be marked on November 21, 2008, at the whaling station, now a musem called Whale World.

Listen to the radio interview with Chris Pash or watch the video clip with archival material.

The Last Whale by Chris Pash was published October 2008 by Fremantle Press and is available in all good book stores in Australia.

Review – Bookseller & Publisher

February 17, 2010

(first posted Friday, September 5, 2008)

Bookseller & Publisher Magazine in its September 2008 edition wrote: “The Last Whale is a lively account of the protest action that brought an end to whaling in Australia in the 1970s.”

Freelance reviewer Sally Denmead said: “Pash should be commended for his objective and balanced approach, devoting just as much time to the stories of individual whalers and what the industry meant to them and the town of Albany, as he does to the activists.”

In a separate interview in the same magazine, Chris Pash said: “I enjoy equally the company of the whalers and the anti-whaling activists. I went out with the whalers twice, both times catching sperm whales. I feel close to them and somewhere along the line I took on the responsibility to tell their story fairly and accurately, to be a champion, to explain their lives honestly but not to be an apologist.”

On the anti-whaling activisits of 1977, Pash said: ” They were crazy, but somehow magical, to throw themselves in front of an explosive head harpoon. There’s a part in all of us that longsto take action, tilt at windmills, right wrongs, take a final stand. Stuff it, let’s do it. But few acton that longing. So, why did these people? The Last Whale seeks answers.”

Steve Shallhorn, CEO of Greenpeace Australia Pacific, says The Last Whale is “… an important contribution to Australian history and to the protection of whales… it chronicles the people and events which created Greenpeace in Australia and … seeks to understand the minds and thinking of those who hunted whales in Australia.”

The Last Whale, will be launched in Albany, Western Australia, on September 20, 2008, by Steve Shallhorn at Albany, Western Australia, the site of Australia’s last whaling station, during the Sprung Writers Festival.

The Last Whale will be in bookstores from October 1, 2008.

Save The Whale T-Shirt

January 27, 2010

(First Posted Saturday, March 8, 2008)

The Ying and Yang whale motif created by the Whale & Dolphin Coalition in 1977 as part of a campaign of nonviolent direct action against Australia’s last whaling station in Albany, Western Australia.

The whales on the t-shirt have the box noses of sperm whales, the type of whale being hunted by Australia at that time.

‘Close Cheynes’ is a reference to the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company, the last whaling company in Australia.

The Whale & Dolphin Coalition brought to Australia Canadian Bob Hunter, Greenpeace’s first president, to lend his expertise honed in the North Pacific against the Soviet whaling fleet … using Zodiac inflatable boats to put people between harpoons and whales. The Whale & Dolphin Coalition later morphed into Greenpeace Australia
Classic ‘Save The Whale’ t-shirt (below) created in 1977 during the campaign to close Australia’s last whaling station. The t-shirt was worn, and is still owned, by Aline Charney Barber during the nonviolent direct action campaign in Albany, Western Australia.