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Spalding Cove
 
 
 
 
 

Location 

Zone 53 
Map 6028 
E 586000 - N 6151500 
Spalding Cove is part of the Lincoln National Park on the Jussieu Peninsula. It is located 13 kilometres southeast of Port Lincoln. 

 

Topographic map showing Spalding Cove (Courtesy: Mapland)

History 

Two references to the whaling activity that took place at Spalding Cove were published in the Proceedings of the Royal Geographical of Australasia Society in 1923. The two passages follow: 

Passage 1: 
 The most recent account of Spalding Cove is given by a person by the name of Homburg, who visited the area in May 1832...The object of his visit to Port Lincoln was to carry hither a party of thirty persons with five boats, and the necessary implements for catching whales. The persons whom he left had been there for three previous seasons for the same purpose and had been successful. The black whales are very commonly met with close in shore; the sperm whales not infrequently being farther southward. Seals are not very numerous...The natives, as well as the whalers and sealers depend for their supply of water on two streams running into Spalding Cove before mentioned (Moore, 1923). 

Passage 2: 
 Frederick Homburg was on the brig Socrates when he visited Port Lincoln in May 1832. It is to be regretted that he did not give more information about the thirty two persons who conveyed to Port Lincoln and who had been there during the three previous seasons. He stated in his evidence given in London that they had left their huts standing (Moore, 1923) 

Th site is very rocky, there is no beach. It is extremely difficult to access the site, with an uneven surface and a steep climb to the site. The whaling station is located in open scrub, with trees to the northern east in a natural gully. 

Archaeology 

 

Rock Structure (photo by M. Staniforth)

A survey of the area in 1997 by the Flinders University revealed the following scattered material. These remains support the passages above that suggest a whaling station was active at the site of Spalding Cove: 
Pale green bottle fragments and glass bottles 
Base of earthenware tea cup (White) 
Some iron fragments 
1 mulberry decorated tea cup base  
1 maroon striped decorated tea cup base  
5 maroon red plate fragments 
5 white tea cup fragments 
1 white tea cup base with a pale blue line through it 
1 olive green glass 
Scattered pieces of metal with rock structure 
Mulberry coloured fragments with a leaf and branch decoration on it. 
4 pieces resembling a base 
Scattered pale green glass. 
2 fragments of a wide mouth pickle jar 

 
Pickle Jar (photo by M. Staniforth)

4 olive green fragments. 
1 nearly complete pale green glass 
Rectangular section of bottle, no markings, possibly a medicine bottle. 
Partial remains of a pale green bottle. 
Pale green bottle base, round in shape. 
Pale green rectangular bottle base, no markings 
Rock structures 
White tea cup base. 
Whole pale olive green pickle jar located (complete) with the markings EBH 
Rock structure, at least 2 courses of rubble visible.  
Pale purple jars, with the markings M on base. Jars complete. 
Cobalt blue circular section of small bottle.  

References 

Moore, H.P. 1923. "Notes on the early settlers in South Australia prior to 1836, Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Australiasia Society (South Australian Branch, Adelaide), Vol 25, pg 92-93. 

Kostoglou, P. and McCarthy, J. 1991. Whaling and Sealing Sites in South Australia, Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology, Special Publication No:, p 22. 
 
 

By Rebecca O'Reilly 

Return to South Australian Whaling Site Index
Back - Sleaford Bay           Next - Thistle Island 
 
 


Created and maintained by Mark Staniforth and Nathan Richards.
Please send your comments about the AWSANZ project to... 
S.Lawrence@latrobe.edu.au
Please send your comments about the AWSANZ website to... 
Mark. Staniforth@flinders.edu.au