Whale World - Albany

GPS 35 05 43.59 S 117 57 35.38 E

 

 

 

 

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The first industry in Western Australia was whaling. It was a major factor in the survival of the colony and it continued until 1978 when the last whaling station (this one) closed down.

 

Today, in the west, whaling is viewed very differently from times past. In these politically correct times It would have been very easy for Whale World to become a condemnation of past practices and the men who worked on the whale chasers. Thankfully the industry is portrayed in its historical context without making moral judgments about whaling.

 

The men who manned the whaling ships and worked on the flensing decks did a dangerous and unpleasant job. It would be easy, with the benefit of hindsight, to simply condemn them without understanding the reasons for whaling and the part it played in the state's economy.

 

Visitors to Whale World are presented with the facts about whaling and are given a glimpse into a past that many would prefer to forget.

 

The huge effort and expense that has obviously been put into Whale World makes it not only the best attraction in Albany but one of the best in the state, if not the whole of Australia.

 

The preservation of the site and buildings is remarkable. Because of the heritage listing of the area there is little room for new development so great ingenuity and imagination have been used to develop the exhibits.

 

The old whale oil tanks have been turned into three theatres and an observation tower/gallery.

 

Anyone who visited the station when it was still in operation (as I did back in the 1960s) will immediately recognise the smell of whale oil that still lingers in a couple of the big tanks.

 

Guided tours are run on the hour from 10am-3pm. We highly recommend that you join a tour as it gives a better insight into the whaling station and the men who worked there. Tours take about 40 minutes and are included in the admission price.

 

When you finish the tour you can visit the three theatres where you will be entertained by the 3D movie 'Giants Exist', by a film on sharks and by a short film detailing the history of whaling in Australia.

 

One exhibit that we found especially fascinating was the Spectravision Theatre, where miniaturised hologram like figures talk about the last day of whaling.

 

In order to get the most from Whale World you need to set aside 3-4 hours as the number and variety of the exhibits will take at least that long to properly enjoy.

 

The centre piece of the whole attraction is Cheynes IV, the old whale chaser. This vessel was a purpose built whaler constructed in Norway in 1948. It operated in South African waters before coming to Australia.

 

While the Cheynes IV is open to visitors it should be noted that there are some steep ladders on board so older or infirm visitors should take care when exploring. Wandering through the ship and seeing the rather primitive cabins and equipment, gives a bit of an insight into what life was like for the men who crewed the vessel.

 

We have only briefly touched on the main attractions at Whale World here. In addition to those discussed above are a number of other very interesting things to see and do including the old sealer's hut, the factory and boilers where whale blubber was cooked down, the Colin Green heritage gallery, Parry gallery, a playground for the kids, whale skeletons, engineering and blacksmith shop, plus a souvenir shop and cafe.

 

If all this isn't enough and you still have energy to spare, you can take the wildflower walk up the hill to see some native animals in enclosures.

 

Whale World is working on a new exhibit called Discovery Bay that is expected to open later in 2013. For opening times and entry fees please visit the Whale World website..

 

Your entry fee helps to keep this wonderful historic site open as Whale World is a non-profit organisation and relies primarily on public support. If you live in Albany then you might like to become a Whale World volunteer.

 

We were very impressed with Whale World and are happy to recommend it as one of the best tourist attractions in W.A. If you are visiting Albany then this is a MUST SEE item to put on your list.

 

If you are here during whale season (August to October) then you may also be treated to the sight of migrating whales swimming in the waters of King George Sound.

 

 

Whale World - Albany

 

Whale World - Albany

 

Whale World - Albany

 

Whale World - Albany

 

Whale World - Albany

 

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