HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

17 March 2015

Whale stoves in boat – Jervis Bay


The greatest gamble on earth, with life as the stake, that is the industry of whaling.

Whaling meant many months at sea for the crews involved, long periods of boredom staring at the ocean looking for whales, the time was spent maintaining equipment and the ship. Once a whale was spotted, adrenaline charged excitement pulsed throughout the ship, men scurried to their positions and the chase began.
Dangers were ever present for the sailor, with many sailors loosing their lives in the pursuit of a meager living.

One such incident happened inside Jervis Bay in 1878 as reported by Captain Folder.


“ Mr. Thomas Graham, the first mate,  was fast to a whale in Jervis Bay, on November 8, another whale stove in the boat by biting it.   The crew were subsequently submerged, and one of them, named John Cannoord, known by the sobriquet of ‘Hydrabad,’  who could not swim was immediately drowned, notwithstanding the efforts of the first mate to save him.  In endeavouring to rescue Cannooard, Graham was also nearly drowned, Graham and the reminder of the crew, except the one alluded to, were rescued,  after being in the water for about half and hour.

This short incidental account, appeared in the Hobart Mercury, amongst other shipping and whaling news.
Old whale song.

Oh!  the rare old whale, mid storm and gale,
       In his ocean home will be,
A giant in might,  where might is right,
       A king of the boundless sea.



  1. Tough life no doubt.. have you read the book Island of the Lost: shipwrecked at the edge of the world by Joan Druett? Made people tougher back in those days!

  2. No I haven't Tom,,,,I will make the effort to read it.