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The Last Whale

a radio feature produced by Lyn Gallacher

This is the story of the end of whaling in Australia. It’s also the beginning of Greenpeace International and Australia’s first big direct action environmental campaign. And it’s a story of a group of whalers who went from being whale killers to whale lovers.


The scene is Albany, Western Australia and the date, 1977. A time of flowing hair, purple pants and loud folk music. In the end the protesters won worldwide attention for their cause and a Fraser government judicial inquiry into the future of whaling. Initially the protesters called themselves the ‘Whale and Dolphin Coalition’ but they invited other groups such as Greenpeace to join them and this was how Greenpeace came to mount its first ever direct action protest campaign outside North America in Albany WA.


The protesters’ plan was to shut down the whaling station by riding out to sea in rubber dinghies, tagging the whale chasers and placing themselves between the targeted whale and the whalers’ deadly explosive head harpoons. Many people in Albany thought the out-of-town crusaders were completely mad and perhaps they were, but they did change whaling forever. Albany went from being a whale hunting town to a whale watching town, a change even the old whalers themselves were pleased to see.

Listen to the program here …

THE LAST WHALE - Hindsight 2 June 2013



Malcolm Traill


Mick Stubbs


Glenn Russell


Kase Van Der Gaag


Jon Lewis


Chris Pash


Kim Lofts





Lyn Gallacher, Producer


John Jacobs, Sound Engineer




© 2013—Lyn Gallacher & ABC RN

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