Jan 022012

2012 is the Australian National Year of Reading

I plan to share some books that I am reading or that I am using for resource material.

Ahab’s Trade: The Saga of South Seas Whaling 
by Granville Allen Mayer
Published 1999
ISBN 1 86508 447 6

This is an excellent book if you have whalers in your family. It is 347 pages of smallish text going into amazing detail of the trade, the ships and the people involved. It is a great adventure story (putting aside the fact that lots of whales were killed).
It does have illustrations, a glossary, a long list of sources and an index (amazing how many history books don’t have indexes!)
I became interested in this topic due to my One Name study on Quested. 
George  Quested was the Captain of the Speedy which
weighed 313 tons and was built in the River Thames in 1779 as a whaler. The Speedy along with  HMS Minerva and Friendship formed the tenth fleet. On board the Speedy were 53 females convicts and Captain Phillip Gidley King coming to New South Wales to replace John Hunter as Governor. The voyage took 142 days and went via Cape Horn. After delivering the convicts and Governor King, George and the Speedy explored the southern waters looking for whales and trying to establish a whaling industry. In 23 months George took on board 270 tons of sperm oil.
What is particularly nice for me is that George wrote some letters to Governor King about establishing the industry. This information was relayed By Governor King to England. Also Ann King kept a journal of her voyage on the Speedy and this is in the Mitchell Library.