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Martin Gibbs, The Shore Whalers of Western Australia: historical archaeology of a maritime frontier.

Martin Gibbs, The Shore Whalers of Western Australia: historical archaeology of a maritime frontier, Sydney University Press, Sydney, 2010, vi + 165 pages; ISBN 978 192089 962 2.

Every winter from 1836 to 1879 small wooden boats set out from the bays of Western Australia's south-west coast to hunt migrating humpback and right whales. For the first few years until permanent communities became established, the men working in the industry camped on shore. This latest volume in the studies in Australian historical archaeology series is based on Martin Gibbs's 1995 University of Western Australia PhD thesis. The author is now a senior lecturer at Sydney University, and president of the Australasian Society for Historical Archaeology. His study is grounded in thorough historical research on European and Aboriginal whale hunting to set the background for his specific archaeological investigation of a shore whaling site at Cheyne Beach, 50 kilometres north-east of Albany. The artefacts and physical evidence located by Gibbs's excavations provide a fascinating picture of life in these little-documented settlements. An appendix includes information on 20 other sites along the West Australian coast, and the book is generously illustrated with photographs, sketches and tables.

Anne-Maree Whitaker

Book Review Editor

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Author:Whitaker, Anne-Maree
Publication:Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society
Article Type:Book review
Date:Dec 1, 2010
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