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Record 3/15
Photograph album, "Whaling in Marlborough. The record of a day spent at the whaling station July 1954, by the late H.M. Smith, Blenheim." Album holds 78 photographs. The first three leaves have newspaper clippings glued in and some loose pages from the Marlborough Express, 25 July 1959 on whaling (see Archives 2001.078.0002). The contents cover the sighting of a whale, chase, kill and return to the station where the whale is butchered. The captions below are taken directly from the album and are mostly in the order in which they appear in the album. Not all photographs were scanned. (Image 2). On the way to the Whaling Station, Bill Roussell, Lester, Norm Brayhshaw, Vic Brehaut, Noel Waters. (Image 3). There is enough for all, but the squabbling does not abate. The "Tuatea" arrives at the works with a whale in tow. Whalemeat ready for loading on to a punt which will convey it to Picton where it will be sold for dog meat. (Image 4). The whaling station just inside tory Channel. Innumerable fighting and squabbling birds herald the approach to the works. Many of the birds become so gorged they cannot become air-borne and literally walk the water. The odoour of the works becomes very noticeable the nearer one approaches. (Image 5). The skipper of the Tuatea Captain C. Perano. (Image 6). The mother ship Tuatea with a whale tied on either side. The whales are anchored to buoys until required. They must be process within 24 hours. (Image 7). The whaling station just inside Tory channel. (Image 8). Innumerable fighting and squabbling birds herald the approach to the works. (Image 9). The Tuatea arrivesat the works with a whale in tow. (Image 10). Whale meat ready for loading on to a punt which will convey it to Picton where it will be sold for dog meat. (image 11). A constant watch is maintained from this high vantage point. By means of radio - telephone these watchers are "whale - shepherds" to the chasers. (Image 12). On the bridge of the "Tuatea". (Image 13). Making ready on the way out in the open sea. (Image 14). The harpoon has gone home. (image 15). The dead whale is immediately inflated by means of compressed air. (Image 16). The catch is handed over to the Mother ship. (Image 17). The tip of the bottom tail fluke is deftly cut off to assist in steering the ship (Image 18). A pleasure launch beside a partly submerged whale awaits our return. (Image 19). The decks ashore being clear, our latest catch is delivered at the wharf. (Image 20). The exhaust of a digester is opened, and the birds complaining take to wing momentarily. (Image 21). The more solid "broth" settles on the surface and the birds return to the harvest, whilst the pleasure launch remains out of the line of fire. (Image 22). The pleasure launches come in closer, the air being less pungent. (Image 23). The water becomes crimson as the whale commences its journey up the ramp. (Image 24). Steel ropes are securely fastened. (Image 25). Cameras are focussed. (Image 26). Views of the whale's mouth. Note fthe flipper and the barnacles. (Image 27). The whale on the ramp. (Image 28). The underside of a 30 ton monster. The initial cut is being made. (Image 29). Razor-sharp knives are deftly used and the barnacles missed as speed is the keynote from now on. (Image 30). The blubber is rapidly peeled off from the mouth to the tail in one continuous pull by the winches and the expertly plied knives of the workmen. (Image 31). The carcase is gradually pulled apart by chains and ropes. The men clamber about the now flabby mass with apparent ease. (Image 32). A veritable snow-white curtain of fatty tissue envelopes the entrails. The carcase was still warm. (Image 33). The entrails are revealed, and if a cow whale the ovaries will be saved for research, the age being thereby ascertained. The sex and measurement of each whale is recorded. (Image 34 is not in the photograph album). There is one about the lemmers and the caption is as follows: The lemmers make quick work of cutting up the vertebrae with a chain saw. The winchman can be seen high up in the picture [which is not this picture]. (Image 35). The rich red meat is cut into manageable slabs. (Image 36). The mouth of the whale. The solid bone will be sawn up. (Image 37). The blubber boys cut the joints which are slid into the digesters by the aid of long hooked steel rods. (Image 38). The foreman is proud of his machinery. Beards are common on the station. (Image 39). The ladder at the side of this modern digester leads to the floor above. Years of use has made it a veritable greasy pole. (Image 40). As we say good bye to the whaling station, the birds, which appear to possess an insatiable appetite, continue their raucous squabbling, but we shall surely return for there is much to be seen, and not herein recorded. One box of prints and negatives of these photographs are also in the collection but have no accession record.
Whaling in Marlborough:The record of a day spent at the whaling station July 1954 -Photograph Albums From Marlborough Museum -Copyright Marlborough Museum - Marlborough Historical Society Inc

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Last modified on: April 13, 2015