Jervis Bay is interesting because it is a large, well protected, primarily empty bay. The bay itself is part of the Australian government territory (much like Washington DC is) even though it is surrounded by the state of New South Wales. The point of this was so that the capital at inland Canberra would have control of a potential seaport thus not letting New South Wales and Sydney have a too strong bargaining position.
Then the trail lead us to a nice beach and we were greeted by this sign— ‘'Bronze Whaler’ does not sound good. I think I’ll skip the sea bath today.
Eden is an interesting small town. It started as a whaling port but more recently was home to a large fishing fleet before the stocks were so depleted. There are some fish farms and afew commercial fish boats still fishing the area, but nothing like the hay day. This is a family of Roos who stopped grazing while we walked by on our hike to the old whaling station.
The Eden Maritime museum is one of those funky little local museums that don’t always have a consistent story between the exhibits, generally more of an eclectic grouping of old stuff-- just the way a museum should be. This is the skeleton of Old Tom. He was a killer whale (Orca) that worked for the whaling fleet in the 1920’s. His pack would herd the blubber bearing baleen whales (Southern Right Whales and Humpbacks) into Twofold Bay (the outer bay where Eden is located). Then Old Tom would swim up to the whaling fleet boats, leaping out of the water to let everyone know that the whales were in the bay. The whalers would head out on their boats and quickly dispatch the whales. They’d drag the carcasses of the unfortunate whales to shore and remove the blubber. Then they’d take the carcass and anchor it in the bay to let the orcas eat the tongue as an up to 4 ton reward for their part in the slaughter. When Old Tom came back into the bay in September 1930 to die the grateful fishermen decided to preserve his bones – which are now the highlight of the maritime museum.
The museum has other interesting stories like the tale of James Bentley, a whaler, who was swallowd by a Sperm Whale. Only later to be freed when the whale was caught and rendered. You might have heard about the story of Jonah and the Whale – similar. It was dully reported in the 1891 English newspapers and in the 1928 Australian papers. Turns out it was an early incarnation of Fakenews.
I did get to see some rusty stuff. This is the Try-works at the Davidson Whaling Station. It’s on the bay opposite Eden and was in use till 1929. The Try-works is where the cooked down they blubber.
In walking around Eden we did run into the high-tech incubator section of town. I believe this is an Aussie networking startup company: Netmakers.