Establishment of Whale FisheryPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Bryan Cole / Stephen Warren

The plaque commemorates the establishment of a whale fishery in Victor Harbor by the South Australian Company in 1837.

Whaling was South Australia`s first industry. It was already in operation at Kangaroo island before the colony was established in 1836. The colony's first exports were whaling products. After the official settlement of South Australia two bay-whaling, or on-shore whaling, stations operated from Victor Harbor. In March 1837 Captain Blenkinsopp opened one for Sydney merchant Robert Campbell at Victor Harbor but later moved it to Granite Island.

The South Australian Company, operated its own station near the Bluff, at Victor Harbor, with Captain Hart in charge for some time. By the end of the year more than two hundred tons of whale oil was exported from these whaling stations. A lookout was built, and manned, on the Bluff. 

Victor Harbor, March 27. The romance of Encounter Bay has now changed from shooting to surfing and from harpoons to honeymoons." His Excellency the Governor (Sir Willoughby Norrie) said yesterday when he unveiled a memorial in honor of pioneers who were associated with the whaling industry established in 1837. The ceremony was conducted by the District Council of Encounter Bay and the Royal Geographical Society. The chairman of the council (Mr. Herbert E. Welch) presented His Excellency with an inscribed copper ash tray made from a bolt from the sailing ship Solway, which was wrecked on a reef between Wright Island and the Bluff jetty in 1837.
A walking stick from amer from the same ship was presented to Lord Gowrie in 1933 when he was Governor of South Australia. Sir Willoughby Norrie, who wwas accompanied by Lady Norrie, congratulated the people of Encounter Bay on the interest they had taken in their early and exciting history.  "It was no doubt that the sight of whales in the waters which bathed the southern shores of Australia suggested a ready means of livelihood to those seamen and other who were prepared to bear the hazards of whaling. Dr. A. Grenfell Price, on behalf of the Royal Geographical Society, gave an account of the early whaling industry.
The Advertiser (Adelaide), 28 March 1949.



Address:121 Franklin Parade, Whalers Inn, Victor Harbor, 5211
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.586525
Long: 138.598771
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Technology
Approx. Event Start Date:1837


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 26th March, 1949
Front Inscription

An early whale settlement

This tablet was erected to commemorate the establishment in this vicinity of a whale fishery by the South Australian Company in 1837

Unveiled 1949


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au