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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Volume Three of A G E

A.G.E. Jones, that is.

Almost thirty years ago, when I started researching wooden-world-whaling, the name of the British researcher was one of the first that I learned.  An indefatigable collector of British whaling data, he made lists that were absolutely invaluable.  And when I wrote to him (rather daringly, as he had the reputation of being prickly and reclusive) he responded in the most gentlemanly fashion possible, sending me copies of his papers, and writing fascinating letters in tiny script on aerograms.  Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet him, because he passed away before I had a chance to get to England.  Unfortunately, too, his demise interrupted the publication of his third volume of collated data.  But now that has been remedied by Australian maritime historian Dale Chatwin, who has edited the book for publication.

And here is the press release.

In 1986, A. G. E. (Joe) Jones and the Roebuck Society published the first volume of Ships Employed in the South Seas Trade.  The work commenced the process of building for the British Southern Whale Fishery an equivalent of Alexander Starbuck’s monumental History of the American Whale Fishery

Volume 1 contained transcriptions and indexes to south seas departures, ‘speakings’ and arrivals from the commercial record of shipping in London at the time, Lloyd's List.  Also included were entries for south sea ships from the Registrar-General of Shipping and Seamen's Registers of Shipping and two short articles on the British Southern Whale and Seal Fisheries. 

Volume 2 was published four years later.  It continued the work of listing and indexing ships involved in the trade from the various registers of shipping published by the shipowners and insurance underwriters.  Accompanying the lists were indexes and lists of names extracted from the Admiralty Protections and further articles dealing with aspects of the trade.

Ships Employed in the South Seas Trade Volume 3 has now been published posthumously as Jones died in 2002.  It contains the final part of Jones’ work on the British Southern Whale Fishery.  

Parts I – III contain an introductory sketch of the trade prepared by the Editor; a series of annual reviews prepared by Jones; and, a long series detailing the movement in the price of whale oils imported into London and sold in the market after 1810.  

In Parts IV and V are detailed the final pieces in the puzzle of what was the British Southern Whale Fishery - records of cargoes for ships in the trade prior to 1815 compiled from annual returns prepared by the Enderby family and associates; and, post 1816 records compiled by Jones from the Customs Bills of Entry for south sea ships into the Port of London.  

Part VI includes information about the expenses incurred during preparation for, and outfitting of a whaling voyage.  Part VII includes a number of statistical tables compiled by contemporary observers inside and outside of the whaling trade, detailing various aspects during its existence.

The British southern whale fishery now has its equivalent of Alexander Starbuck's labour.  In terms of content the three volumes which comprise Ships Employed in the South Seas Trade probably even surpass the level of detail which Starbuck was able to compile and record – all of this thanks to A. G. E. Jones.


Published in 2014 by Navarine Publishing (in conjunction with the Roebuck Society) Hobart, Tasmania ISBN 978-0-9923660-1-8

Limited to 100 numbered copies

Price AUD $25 plus postage and packing

Available from the Editor -

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