Thesis abstract ‘The Historical Archaeology of Tasmanian-Based Whaling in South Australian Waters 1820–1850’

17th November 2013

Kylii Firth

MA, Department of Archaeology, Flinders University, Adelaide, January 2005

This thesis provides a comparative historical and archaeological analysis of the shore-based and pelagic (deep-sea) whaling industry of Tasmania and South Australia. This was an important maritime industry which, more often than not, has been dismissed within contemporary Australian historical writings. It is argued that Launceston and Hobart Town whalers, who plied their trade during a relatively short but vital period of economic growth in colonial history, were familiar with the spoils of whaling, not only in their own coastal and oceanic waters, but also in those of South Australia. The identities of this industry, both owners and workers, are examined. They were often well acquainted, either through business or through rivalry, and were entrepreneurs with a common goal. The whaling vessels were owned, captained and regularly exchanged within the same small group of men. The coastal whaling voyages and shore-based whaling establishments set up by these men opened up a significant number of frontier settlements along the South Australian coastline. Historical documentary records combined with maritime archaeological evidence are employed to examine the nature and extent of the role played by the Tasmanian entrepreneurs in the development of the South Australian whaling industry. A database is developed that provides a summary of whaling vessel voyages, dates and destinations from both primary and secondary source material. This information is sufficient to determine a trajectory of events, and provides a direct correlation between vessels, owners and workers, and the establishment of several early shorebased whaling sites in South Australia. Both maritime and historical archaeology are integrated to determine that a shore-based whaling station site existed at Fisherman’s Point in Spalding Cove, South Australia. It is confirmed that the whaling station was owned and operated by Henry Reed of Launceston during 1831 and 1832. Furthermore, the precise location of the site is determined from the documentary and archaeological evidence.

Firth, K.
Thesis abstract 'The Historical Archaeology of Tasmanian-Based Whaling in South Australian Waters 1820–1850'
2005
60
74
Thesis Abstracts
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