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7 December 1839 Rosetta Cove Whaling Station


7 December 1839       Rosetta Cove Whaling Station           

The advertisement for the sale of the Rosetta Cove whaling station at Encounter Bay, which appeared in the South Australian Gazette and Colonial Register on 7 December 1839, was brought about through a series of misfortunes and bad management. In March 1837 Samuel Stephens for the South Australian Company arrived to establish a whaling station near the Bluff and at the same time Captain Blenkinsop arrived from Sydney on a similar mission, setting up camp near Granite Island. From the beginning there was animosity as well as competition between the two groups. Blenkinsop accused Stephens of enticing his men away with a promise of higher pay and Stephens complained that Blenkinsop was interfering with his fishery. To add to the SA Company’s woes Stephens, by an oversight, overpaid his men, then three of their ships were wrecked in gales. In 1838 Captain Hart replaced Stephens and John Barton Hack bought the Granite Island station from Blenkinsop and these two joined forces in 1839. But even so further losses followed and the SA Company began to withdraw from the enterprise. J.B. Hack lost money on the venture and Captain Blenkinsop was drowned, along with Judge Jeffcott, at the Murray mouth while on a fruitless expedition to find a deep water harbour in the area in December 1837 and Samuel Stephens died after a fall from his horse in January 1840. The last whale caught in the Bay was in October 1872.

Max Colwell, Whaling Around Australia, Rigby 1969, pp.53-9.

Tags: Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor, Whaling