Historical information

The Huon Pine whaleboat was made on site by the boat builders at Flagstaff Hill in1989, of the clinker-planked construction method.

Whaling was carried out in the 1790s up until the 1970s in the Southern Ocean off the coast of Australia, including southwest Victoria. The whales were hunted for their oil, baleen, meat and other products. It was a lucrative but very dangerous occupation. The small whaleboats with their five crew members were easy to maneuver but also easily overturned by a writhing whale. The Southern Right whales had desirable attributes; they came close to shore, they were slow swimmers and they floated when dead - hence the name 'Right' describing the right whale to hunt. The whale population was greatly reduced until 1979 when the Australian government prohibited whaling. These whales still visit the area annually to breed in the shallow bays along what is now called the Shipwreck Coast of Victoria.


The whaleboat represents a significant time in Australia between the 1790s and 1979, when the whaling trade was carried in this area, and around Australia, providing employment and meeting the demand for whale oil, meat and other products. A time during which the population of whales was greatly depleted.

Physical description

Australian whaleboat; a long narrow vessel constructed of clinker-planked Huon Pine timber. It has provision for a crew of 5five oarsmen and a sweep or helmsman. Made in 1989.