Whaling as it used to be in Albany, Western Australia

Photo: Steve de Vroom

Whaling is one of those contentious industries that is now only practised by three countries.

The hunting of whales used to be a very big industry, until many countries ended the senseless killing of whales some decades ago.

Whale World in Albany, Western Australia is the site of the last active whaling station in Australia.  Now a museum, Whale World celebrates the life of the whale, whilst also telling the story of those whalers, men who frequently risked death and injury just to hunt these aquatic behemoths.

Whale World is situated on the site of the old Cheynes Beach Whaling Station, located on the picturesque southern coast of King George Sound in Albany, Western Australia, which ceased operation in 1978.

Photo: Steve de Vroom

Your journey to understand both whales and the men who hunted them, is presented in a number of audio visual displays, and the world’s first 3D animated film on whales.  There are also many artefacts, including massive whale bones and a real whaling boat that you can clamber about, available to help understand what whaling was all about.

One of the ironies when visiting Whale World is that since whaling off the shores of Australia ceased, whales are becoming more common, and it is sometimes possible to see live whales during the winter months, when they leave the Antarctic waters to journey north to breed.

Photo: Steve de Vroom

Whaling in the seas near Albany actually pre-dates European occupation of the area, and it became one of the major industries once the town was established in 1826. Nowadays, whale watching is one of the major tourist industries in the town, so whichever way you look at it, whales have always had some importance for the local economy.

In actual fact, Whale World is one of the best museums of its type that you will see, simply because it still has the air of authenticity about it.  You can walk upon the spillways were the whales were chained and dragged ashore to be cut up, and you can get some feel for what it must have been like, and you certainly get to admire the whales themselves, and to appreciate what magnificent creatures they are.

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