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Hog Bay

Location 

Zone 53 
Map 6426 
E 767500 - N 6042800 
The Hog Bay whaling station is located approximately 1.5 kilometres east of the township of Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island. 

 

Topographic map showing area of Hog Bay Whaling Station (Courtesy: Mapland)

History 

The whaling fishery at Hog bay was established in April 1841 by a shipbuilder from Port Adelaide named Daniel Simpson. The station was in use between 1841 and 1844, and employed twenty men and two catch boats at the site and yielded 45 tuns of oil in 1841.  

"South Australia, May 14. We are glad to be able to announce that the whaling season has commenced most favourably. At Mr Simpson's fishery at Hog Bay, Kangaroo ISland, three fish have been taken. The oil of one of them is now in the port for sale, having being brought up in the Sophia Jane on Wednesday last. The first fish was caught on 26 April" (South Australian Register, 3 June 1841). 

"Mr Simpson's fishery at Hog Bay has commenced auspiciously. Already four fish have been taken...The oil has been tried down and is now selling in Adelaide at 32 per ton. Mr Simpson cutters are engaged in bringing up the oil as fast as it can be obtained" (South Australian Register, 4 June 1841). 

It is speculated that Mr Daniel Simpson who owned the Hog Bay station used a site once operated by Reed and Hart who worked a whale fishery before official settlement began and therefore wasn't included in historical documents. It is believed that this station was operated around 1832. 

After the death of Mr Simpson, the station was purchased by Mr Haynes in 1842 who operated the station until 1844: 

"In 1842 the Hig Bay station was taken by John Haynes who continued to operate it until 1844, in July 1842, a party from the Hog Bay fishery were about 9 miles offshore when a whale overturned their boat. As they swam for shore a second boat from the fishery rescued them. During the 1842 season 30 men were employed at Hog Bay but only two whales yielding 20 tuns of oil and two thirds of a tun of bone were taken. During 1843 Haynes continued to work from Hog BAy with every little success, and in 1844 continued that operation with one based at Cape Jervis. The season was disastrous, and Haynes disappeared at sea in October 1844. Many ships searched for his boat the Sophia Jane and eventually found it on the Coorong, 60 miles past the Murray Mouth, but there was no trace of Haynes and his men" (Nunn, 1989, p 85). 

Archaeology 

The exact location of the Hog Bay whale fishery is still unknown, however Kostoglou and McCarthy (1991) have suggested that it might be 1.5 kilometres east of Penneshaw (Kostoglou and McCarthy, 1991, p 36). This estimation was based on the extract from the South Australian, 28 January 1842: 

'There is a point known as Alex Lookout some miles to the east of Hog Bay. The point, which is a small hump on a ridge running down to sea, commands a clear view of Backstairs Passage in both directions, from Antechamber Bay to Hog Bay. A flagstaff at the Lookout, which could be seen from Hog Bay was used to signal the presence and the direction of the whales" (South Australian, 28 January 1842). 

No archaeological evidence has yet been located. Theoretically the fishery could have been located on any of the beaches around Penneshaw and the observation post is likely to have been situated at "Alex Lookoutí.  It is believed that there are no remains at the site as they were probably destroyed in building what is noe the Penneshaw township. 

References 

Kostoglou, P. and McCarthy, J. 1991. Whaling and Sealing Sites in South Australia, Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology, Special Publication No:6, pg 36-37. 

Nelson, N. 1997. Right place, Wrong time - The Archaeology of Bay Whaling, Kangaroo ISland, South Australia, 1840-1845. Unpublished Honours Thesis, Flinders University of South Australia. 
 
 

By Rebecca O'Reilly 
 
 

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Created and maintained by Mark Staniforth and Nathan Richards.
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