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Friday, March 22, 2013

Whaling journal from Tasmania

A wonderful acquisition for someone ...

Or a whaling museum

Advertised by Louella Kerr books

[WHALING] GREEN, Eric A. J. Original diary

hand-writtten on the Norwegian factory ship N. T. Nielsen-Alonso’s whaling expedition to the Antarctic, 1929-30.
Beginning on 18th October ‘Left warf at 10/30 this morning...’.

The diary (170x220mm) consists of 63 closely written pages, and gives a day by day account of the voyage until the ship’s return on March 21st . Green, one of the 30 ‘Tassies’ who were taken on in Hobart, describes his conditions and activities in con sid er able de tail. His jobs on the mother ship con sist of load ing and mov ing coal, which he hates, and the preferred deck jobs of receiving the whales from the 5 Polchasers. He is very concerned with the state of cleanliness of himself, his clothes, his quarters, and the condition of the ship itself. He has difficulties with the conditions on deck until he kits himself out with spikes and oilskins from the ‘slapkiste’, or ship’s shop [slop chest]. He lists the catch each day, the number of barrells of oil, the hours he works and the over time he calculates he has earned, and comments on the state of the ice and the birds and fish sighted. He lists the daily catch and the type of whale caught - minke, blue, fin, sperm, killer, and hump back, and he describes the excitement of getting the whales on board the mother ship after they have been harpooned by the whalers. One of these, Pol 5, suf fers various accidents, which result in the loss of most of its mast. His chief criticisms are for the poor quality of the food, ‘food is rotten’ occurs frequently, and he recounts how some of the men went on strike when they were given dried fish and sago for dinner. His descrip tions of the Ross Sea and the ice are often poetic. He ends the diary with a transcrip tion of a fifty line verse ‘The Whalers’ Lament’ by J Manly

‘It was some where down the Pole/that the Tassie boys did go
Attached to the inside front cover of the diary, is Green’s letter of employment with the company, dated 23.7.1906..



malcolm archibald said...

That would be a fascinating book. There is not a great deal published about that era of Antarctic whaling

World of the Written Word said...

Fascinating indeed. I've never seen a journal from one of those voyage -- the only firsthand account I can think of is Villiers's Whalers of the Midnight Sun.