Works in the Herald 1930

In a speech yesterday Sir Douglas Mawson said that there were millions of pounds in the Australian whaling industry, but Australians had never attempted to develop it. The whaling sites were closer to Hobart that Fremantle is, but we preferred to open up the interior of Australia while Norwegian whalers made fortunes from our heritage.

Though introspection may be wise for any modern nation, healthy ambition often dies through long self-contemplation: to turn our thought year in, year out, upon our vast interior may cloud the mind to things without, through growing too superior; as, instance, when a nation fails to properly consider whales.

A whale's a very large affair that occupies the ocean, and oft', in coming up for air, he causes much commotion. He should be obvious enough to claim all men's attention, yet we regard him with but gruff and passing condescension, forgetting, in our lofty way, that this unwieldy fish may pay.

'Tis very plain the whale's our friend, as frequently is stated; though friendly feelings in the end mayn't be reciprocated. Our job's to compass his demise and sell his bone and blubber -- a job that no one should despise: not e'en a poor land lubber. There's millions in it, so we're told; yet the Antarctic leaves us cold.

We give our minds to little things like grains of wheat, ignoring that where the looming iceberg swings, where polar blasts are roaring, out by the barriers, ice-topped, the mammoth mammal's wallowing, to bring us wealth if we adopt the whaler's hardy following.... A nation that can't see a whale earns no compassion should it fail.

Herald, 2 April 1934, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2002