Davidson Whaling Station – Edrom, Australia - Atlas Obscura

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Davidson Whaling Station

The site where whalers teamed up with orcas to hunt baleen whales. 


This spot on Twofold Bay was a major whaling site in the 19th century. The Davidson Whaling Station is known for its connection to a unique relationship between human whalers and orcas.

The whaling station was established in the 1850s by carpenter Alexander Davidson, along with his sons. As they began hunting whales in the bay, they found that a group of orcas migrated from Antarctic waters to Twofold Bay each year. At first, the orcas seemed like a nuisance, getting in the way of their catch. But when the Davidsons hired some Yuin locals, whose families had been living and hunting in the area for thousands of years, they started to see the orcas differently. The Indigenous inhabitants of the area had found a way to cooperate with orcas.

The orcas would shepherd baleen whales closer to the coast, and get the attention of whalers. After a whale was caught and killed, the whalers would hitch the carcass to a buoy, allowing the orcas to eat the tongues and lips. The arrangement became known as the “Law of the Tongue.”

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