Cheynes Beach Whaling Company closure
Today, Tuesday 21st November 2017 marks the 39th anniversary of the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company closure and the end of whaling in Australia.
On the evening 21st November 1978, the Cheynes II, Cheynes III and Cheynes IV whale chasing ships berthed at the old Albany Town Jetty after their final whale hunt. The last shore based whaling station in Australia closed and over 150 years of whaling in Albany waters came to an end.
The late John Bell, spotter pilot for the company recalled “… the last day of whaling I only saw one whale, a huge bull sperm whale. We hadn’t quite taken our quota for the year, but this monster was over 45 feet long. So we left him in peace."
ABC journalist Les Johnson reported "…There was more than a touch of mere nostalgia on the Albany Town Jetty last night, when the three ships of the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company moved into their berths for the last time…Sirens blowing the traditional “cock-a-oodle-doo” of the ship in a memorable moment; flags were flying; the television and newspaper men were as busy on the jetty as any of the boarding house crimps of the great days of sail. But…I saw tears in the eyes of some men. There was no future for them, except in the mundane ranks of nine-to-fivers or the unemployed.”
To acknowledge the 39th anniversary Albany’s Historic Whaling Station held a private morning tea function for past Cheynes Beach Whaling Company employees. The function was an opportunity for the whalers to reconnect and remember Albany's unique whaling history and share their personal stories.
Looking onwards to next year's 40th anniversary commemorations Albany's Historic Whaling Station's General Manager Elise van Gorp shared that "…We plan to host several events throughout 2018 which will commemorate both the historic period in Australia’s whaling industry as well as the lives of the past whalers."
"There will be a new addition to the whaling museum in the form of an interactive whale-chasing experience on-board the Cheynes IV whale chaser, along with travelling exhibitions, a comprehensive school education program and some events still on the drawing board including a new film documentary and a concert series.”