How the Whaling Industry of Byron Bay captured its whales

1957-Norfolk Whaler at Ballina [then Santa Cruz]

Date of Event: N/A

Vessel type: WW2 ex Fairmile Patrol Boats

Location: Ballina- NSW

Suggested title: How the Whaling Industry of Byron Bay captured its whales


The Byron Whaling Company started in 1951 and established the factory close to the Byron Bay's deep sea jetty and rail facilities. As the migrating whales travelled fairly close to the shore, the concept for catching and harvesting the whales was based on the use of two small, fast ex WW2, RAN Fairmile patrol boats built in NSW in 1943/44.

From 1954 to 1956, Byrond I was used as the main whale chaser and Byrond II as a reserve. In 1956 Byrond I collided with charging whale on 28th June and was repaired in time to commence the work at Norfolk Island.

They were fitted with a whale harpoon gun on the bow. Once a whale was harpooned, it was secured to the boat and the 'flukes', cut off and jettisoned. Air was then pumped into the whale and towed back to the town wharf.

Interesting anecdote

How small wooden hull, ex RAN Patrol Boats hunted and captured Whales.

1960 Norfolk Whaler in Ballina

1965 Byrond II in action

Byron Bay Wharf- Travelling to shore

Byrond I at Ballina


Name of person submitting the story

Keith Boulton


AMMC Member Institution

Queensland Maritime Museum

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