The Shore Whalers of Western Australia

Historical Archaeology of a Maritime Frontier

Martin Gibbs

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Format: paperback
170 pages
ISBN: 9781920899622
Publication: 21 Jul 2010
Series: Studies in Australasian Historical Archaeology 2
Publisher: Sydney University Press

Read online: Open access

Every winter between 1836 to 1879 small wooden boats left the bays of southwest Western Australia to hunt for migrating Humpback and Right whales. In the early years of European settlement these small shore whaling parties and the whale oil they produced were an important part of the colonial economy, yet over time their significance diminished until they virtually vanished from the documentary record.

Using archival research and archaeological evidence, The Shore Whalers of Western Australia examines the history and operation of this almost forgotten industry on the remote maritime frontier of the British Empire and the role of the whalers in the history of early contact between Europeans and Aboriginal people.

Professor Martin Gibbs is Convenor, School of Humanities at the University of New England. His main research interests include the historical and maritime archaeologies of the Australia-Pacific region.

About the series


1. Introduction
2. History of shore whaling
3. Process and production
4. Location and organisation
5. Excavation of Cheyne Beach
6. Artefact analysis
7. Life at Cheyne Beach
8. Life on the maritime industrial frontier

Appendix A: site histories and surveys
Appendix B: historical data

"The artefacts and physical evidence located by Gibbs's excavations provide a fascinating picture of life in these little-documented settlements. An appendix includes information on 20 other sites along the West Australian coast, and the book is generously illustrated with photographs, sketches and tables."
Anne-Maree Whitaker   Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society

Format: paperback
Size: 297 × 210 × 9 mm
170 pages
105 b&w illustrations and 60 b&w tables
Copyright: © 2010
ISBN: 9781920899622
Publication: 21 Jul 2010
Series: Studies in Australasian Historical Archaeology 2