The historical archaeology of shore based whaling in Western Australia, 1836-1879

Martin David Gibbs

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    [Truncated] Shore-based whaling was one of the earliest industries undertaken by the European settlers of Western Australia, with the whaling camps or stations
    often comprising the first sustained colonial presence in coastal areas.
    Despite extending for over four decades from the first years of the colony to
    just prior to the discovery of gold, the social and economic role of whaling
    in the Western Australian settlements, and the nature of the operation of
    the industry, remains largely unknown. In part this is because whaling
    activity was only scantily reported by contemporary observers, leaving a
    meagre documentary record. This thesis overcomes these limitations by
    using a combination of archaeological and documentary evidence to
    investigate the operation of the shore-based whaling industry in Western
    Australia between the years 1836 and 1879.
    This dissertation is divided into three main sections, investigating different
    aspects of the shore-based whaling industry. The first examines the origins,
    development and decline of whaling in the Western Australian settlements,
    with particular attention to its social and economic roles, including the
    impact of whaling activity on Aboriginal populations. Evidence is also
    presented for the nature of the workforce, the success of the whaling
    operations, and factors which may have limited the expansion of the
    industry.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Western Australia
    DOIs
    Publication statusUnpublished - 1995

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