A chaser boat pursues a sperm whale across choppy, freezing waves. Exploding harpoons pierce the huge animal’s body and she is dragged, bleeding, onto the deck, to be butchered back at the whaling station… But this isn’t Antarctica, and those aren’t Japanese whalers.
It was 20 November 1978, and the last whale had just been killed by an Australian-based whaling company off the WA coast, after two centuries of slaughter and the deaths of tens of thousands of animals.
Earlier that year, Australia’s government had set in motion the Frost Inquiry into whaling, in response to conservation concerns and community campaigning. Following the Inquiry’s recommendations, in 1979 the Fraser government banned whaling in Australia.