On the evening 21st November 1978, the Cheynes II, Cheynes III and Cheynes IV berthed at the Albany Town Jetty after their last whale hunt. The last shore based whaling station in Australia closed and 178 years of whaling in Albany waters came to an end.
Whale spotter plane pilot John Bell 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.”
Here at Albany’s Historic Whaling Station, we honour these memories and many more. On your visit you will find yourself immersed in the stories of the workers, the whales and their place in the economic and social history of Albany. It is not always a pleasant story, but we believe it is an important story to share.
Visit us and take the stories away with you.