On This Day …

Thursday, 10th November, 1791

This is another one of the sadder days in our history. According to NSW State records, this is the day the whaling industry began — an industry which in fifty years, had almost wiped out our population of Southern Right Whales.

Back in England, Samuel Enderby of Enderby & Sons, a whaling and sealing company, had heard of an enormous population of whales in southern waters. So of course, he did what any enterprising businessman would do — he sent several of his whaling vessels, including the Britannia and the William and Ann, to  Australia with the Third Fleet.

These ships arrived in Port Jackson between August and October of 1791. Then, Captain Thomas Melville of the William and Ann, and Captain Eber Bunker of the Britannia, sailed out of Sydney Cove on 10th November. Enthusiastic for success, they travelled to New Zealand waters where they undertook their first whale hunt. Both ships returned to Sydney with one whale each and processed them for whale oil on shore.

So began, for them, a successful whaling business. Unfortunately for the whales it meant endangerment in the near future. In some parts of the world the fight to stop whaling still goes on.

Have you ever seen a whale up close? Tell us about your experience.

Published in: on 9th November, 2012 at 10:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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