Notes on Tasmanian whaling

Crowther, WELH 1919 , 'Notes on Tasmanian whaling' , Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania , pp. 130-151 .

crowther-tas-wh...pdf | Download (1MB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


During the last twelve months three very interesting
communications by Messrs. Scott and Lord have been read
before the Society.
These were entitled "Studies of Tasmanian Cetacea,"
and described particularly, some skeletons preserved in the
Tasmanian Museum, which had been overlooked for nearly
half a century.

Certain of these remains had been presented to the
Museum by my grandfather (the late Hon. Dr. W. L.
Crowther) about 1866-1871, when he was collecting and
forwarding such skeletons both to the British Museum
and that of the Royal College of Surgeons, England.
In view of the scientific value of the work thus accomplished
by him, I trust I may be pardoned for adding a
brief account of his life work, before I pass to the consideration
of Whaling proper. I shall not attempt any scientific classifications of the
whales met with and taken in Southern waters. The
names employed are those used by the Whaling Captains
for the various whales they met with while at sea.
They all, however, fall into one of two families:—
(1) Mystacoceti, i.e., Whale Bono Whales.
(2) Odontoceti, i.e.. Tooth Whales.
The Black Whale fishery – it was the practice for a station to be established at a selected bay and for the oil taken to be shipped by a tender to Hobart Town and thence to England. Some particulars are given here of the early history of Bay whaling in V.D.L..
Sperm Whaling - When considering the Black Whale fishing it will be
remembered that, starting with shore stations only, attended with boats' crews and no ships, the industry developed
until in 1834 there were many sea-going ships employed
around the Tasmanian coast, and occasionally in
New Zealand waters. Although primarily fitted out for
the Black whaling, naturally if the chance arose the more
valuable Sperm whale would be taken. From the Forties, however, the ships were fitted for
Blue Water cruising, with the Sperm as their objective
and not the Right whale. Occasional references to the
Sperm whaling are found in the early V.D.L. publications,
rarely, however, with much detail.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Crowther, WELH
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, Van Diemens Land, VDL, Hobart Town, natural sciences, proceedings, records
Journal or Publication Title: Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

In 1843 the Horticultural and Botanical Society of Van Diemen's Land was founded and became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science in 1844. In 1855 its name changed to Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science. In 1911 the name was shortened to Royal Society of Tasmania.

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page