Bay (Fishery Bay)
E 562800 - N 6136600
GPS position: 05 62í 632" E - 61
6í 77" N
Also known as the Sleaford Bay
Fishery Site or the Fishery Bay Whaling Station , the site is located approximately
35 km south west of Port Lincoln. Sleaford Bay is about 1 kilometre wide
and opens to the south east. The Bay is rocky at the East side with a long
white sand beach and limestone cliffs all around.
Aerial photograph including Tryworks area at bottom
and living area at centre top in the sand dunes (Courtesy: Mapland)
Sleaford Bay is also known as the
Fishery Bay whaling station. It is assumed that Sleaford Bay was established
by 1837 when the schooner Siren was reported in the South Australian
Register to have departed Port Adelaide for Sleaford Bay. By July 1839,
only 4 whales had been taken from Sleaford Bay (Kostoglou & McCarthy,
The station operated under the
ownership of Messrs Hack and Company and the Company of South Australia
forming what became known as the United Fishing Company of Adelaide. During
the first season, 1500 gallons of oil and three ton of whale bone were
obtained. This insufficient yield was blamed on inexperienced headsmen
and constantly deserting boat crew members.
Despite the increase to 3400 gallons
of oil being shipped to Port Adelaide, the South Australian Company sold
off all its interests in the black whale industry in 1841, causing Hack
and company (who failed to compete with the arrival of a Sydney whaler
during the 1841 season) to eventually sell off what remained including
both the Rosetta Head an Sleaford Bay whaling stations. The station was
occupied for a further 3 to 4 months in 1843, but was then abandoned completely.
(Kostoglou & McCarthy, 1991, p17 & 21)
The station is composed of two separate
sites each employing different tasks.
Site A was used predominantly for
accommodation and was situated to the west of the station. Among the remains
at the site were seven building foundations within an area of 62 x 5 metres
dominated by thick coastal scrubland. Artefacts recovered from site A included
scatters of handmade red clay bricks, pieces of whale bone and two lengths
of hoop iron. (Kostoglou & McCarthy, 1991, p17)
Site B was a processing facility
for whale carcasses and was located to the east of the station. Located
at site B was a large sandy platform identified as the flensing and trying
out facility for the station. Located at site B included an extensive charcoal
lens which sustained utilization of the facility for a number of seasons.
(Kostoglou & McCarthy, 1991, p17)
Among the artefacts recovered from
the survey by Flinders University in 1997 were: hoop iron, try works, butchered
bones and clay bricks giving evidence of a shore based whaling enterprise
at Sleaford Bay. other artefacts recovered included bon and charcoal and
stone tools suggesting Aboriginal occupation and blue and white transfer
printed ceramic and earthenware providing more evidence of European occupation.
The site is threatened by a couple
of factors; the first being physical damage with obvious amounts of human
interference around the site with bricks being moved around and dug up
from the site. Th second is environmental damage as the sea continues to
erode the remains at the site such as the try works.
Kostoglou, P. and McCarthy, J. 1991.
Whaling and Sealing Sites in South Australia, Australian Institute for
Maritime Archaeology, Special Publication No:6, p17-21.
Staniforth, M. (nd) Three whaling
station sites on the West Coast of South Australia - Fowlers Bay, Sleaford
Bay and Streaky Bay, Flinders University of SA.
Bradbury, G., Consoli, S., Copland,
G., Mathhews, S., and Southwood, J. 1997. Field Trip Report on Whaling
Station Sites on eyre Peninsula: Fishery Bay, Archaeological Field Methods
Arch 7002 & Arch 8002, Flinders University of SA.
Proceedings of the Royal Geographical
Vol 22, 1920-1921
Th Annual Address of the President
- "Whaling at Encounter Bay"
on Whaling in South Australia"
Report on the Hart, Hagan and Baker
Committee, South Australia, 4/1/1842.
First Report of the Director of
the South Australian Company
SA Company 1st Report, 1837
SA Company 3rd Report, 1839
SA Company 4th Report, 1840
The South Australian Magazine, November
1841, No:5, Vol 1.
"Port Lincoln and its Neighbourhood"
South Australian Company Records,
BRG 42, p17.
SA Company Records (quoted in Thomas,
SA Company Records (quoted in Morphett,
SAA Research Notes #67 "Notes on
South Australian Register,
South Australian Register, 7/8/1839
South Australian Register, 1/5/1841
South Australian Register, 2/6/1844
South Australian Register, 23/7/1842
South Australian Register, 9/5/1842
South Australian Register, 26/3/1842
By Rebecca O' Reilly
South Australian Whaling Site Index
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