Whaling, the hunting of whales for meat and blubber, has been a feature of human history for thousands of years.
Neolithic petroglyphs in Korea, though to have been carved approximately 9,000 to 4,000 years ago, are the earliest depictions of humans hunting whales, and the practice has continued into the present.
Today, whaling is a topic of debate and sanctions, as whale populations have decreased worldwide, and will continue to do so if the industry persists.
Despite this, whaling is a major part of Tasmania’s history.
In the 1830’s Tasmania, then called Van Diemen’s Land, made more money off whale exports than any other product.
Lights throughout the city of Hobart were lit by whale oil, and the famous Salamanca Place was a bustling collection of warehouses built specifically to store whaling products.
The Tasmanian Coat of Arms even features an illustration of a whaling ship, The Flying Childers, as a recognition of the industry’s influence on the Tasmanian economy.
Learn more about whaling at the Maritime Museum Tasmania, where you will discover stories of the whalers and their ships but gaze on the harpoons and blubber knives that were grisly tools of the trade.