Police Point: E 284500 - N 6062500
(Victor Harbor township)
Encounter Bay New Fishery: E 285500
- N 6061700 (Granite Island)
Rosetta Head: E 282500 - N 6059000
All of the Encounter Bay whale
fisheries are located within the foreshore area of the Victor Harbor township.
The whale fishery established at
the three locations in Victor Harbor - Police Point, Granite Island and
Rosetta Head was the most successful shore based whaling station
in south Australia and the longest surviving of all the stations (Kostoglou
& McCarthy, 1991, p41).During the early months of 1837, preparations
to establish a whale fishery at Encounter Bay were being made by
the South Australian Company. Two Encounter Bay whaling stations were established
early. One of the stations, the Rosetta Head (located at the Bluff)
fishery was established in February 1837 by Mr Stephens and the South Australian
Company and named after George Fifie Angasí wife, north of the Bluff. The
second station was established by Captain Blekinslopp at Police Point
(located at Granite Island) in April 1837. The Police Point station was
purchased by the Hack brothers after Captain Blekinslopp drowned and with
the failure of the Rosetta Head whaling station, the two fisheries combined.
In 1839, the South Australian Company withdrew from the Black whale fishery
at Victor Harbor and Hagen and Hart purchased the Encounter Bay stations
of Police Point and Rosetta Head.
In 1843, the arrival of a new fishery
called "Encounter Bay New Fishery" was established adjacent to the stations
owned by Hagan and Hart. The new whaling station was operated by Messrs
Wheland, Wilde and Howard, with Mr Baker joining the company in 1845. With
a bad year in 1846 for both companies at Encounter Bay, the Hagan and Hart
partnership dissolved. Both companies, like all those employed at Encounter
Bay, were fierce rivals and at one time the crew from Hagen and Hartís
station attempted to steal a whale already harpooned by the Wilde, Howard
and Baker station.
The Bay was fished until 1854 with
unsteady years regarding partners and income. Captain Hart remained until
1850, and in 1855 the station did not re-open and a purchaser did not come
forward. A final attempt to re-open the fishery took place by Mr Ranford
in 1871/72, but closed just as quickly with the capture of only one whale.
The companies that operated the
whale fisheries (or whale gangs as they were known) were fierce rivals
since the establishment of the first two stations between Police Point
and Rosetta Head. The competition was first experienced when Captain Blekinsloppís
proposal to join the two whaling stations at Police Point and Rosetta Head
was refused by Mr Stephens in 1837, with the intention to reduce competition
between the two companies.
Register 1838, p3 col 4.
"We hear from Encounter Bay
that the fishery had been quite as successful as anticipated. The boats
of the South Australian Company had secured about 120 tuns and those of
Mr Wright above 100 tuns. The season was considered only half over. The
Goshawk had arrived, and was at anchor in Victor Harbor, preparing the
take in oil for England..."
Register 14 August 1841,
"...Our whaling has not succeeded
so well this season as on some former years, although there is time enough
yet for the season to be made a good one. The Adelaide party has secured
eleven fish, and besides these have lost four, which they had killed in
Register 4 June 1842, p3
"Information has just been received
from Encounter Bay that Messrs Hart and Hagenís party have this week taken
Observer, 1891, p41 col3.
"...At Encounter Bay 134 tuns
of oil and 6 tons of bon were obtained, valued at 3,102 pounds, the expenses
were estimated at 2,084 pounds leaving a profit of 1,018 pounds..."
No physical evidence remain
of the early whaling stations at Encounter Bay. The sites have been
continuously occupied since their abandonment. Police Point whaling station
is now the Victor Harbor township and the Encounter Bay New Fishery station
was altered by the construction harbor works in 1880. The Rosetta
Head station has been less developed.
Kostoglou, P. and McCarthy, J. 1991.
Whaling and Sealing Sites in South Australia, Australian Institute for
Maritime Archaeology, Special Publication No:6, p 40-44.
Register, 14 August 1841
Register, 4 June 1842
By Rebecca O'Reilly
Return to South
Australian Whaling Site Index