History & Whaling

After having carved the site out from the cliffs with hand tools the machinery was installed and running in 1924 with one blubber digester (turning the whale fat into oil), a winch to pull the whale out of the water and a few men to butcher these mammoth sea creatures.

Over the next two decades the whaling station went from a small shack into becoming a large factory that processed thousands of tons of whale carcasses, freezing meat to be made into dog food and breaking up bones to remove the valuable fat from them. The factory itself ran off of a mighty generator that for a time used more power than the whole of the Marlborough Region combined, and employed 45 workers (including the whale chasers and harpooners).

It all came to an end though at 4pm on Monday, December 21st, 1964. That was when the last whale was killed, and the whaling station was soon abandoned. Russian, Norwegian and Japanese whaling fleets had gone south to Antarctica and in one season nearly wiped out a resource that had provided for the Peranos for generations. Today the Perano Whaling Station remains a monument to the hard-working, industrious men who built a business from scratch and made it into a lifestyle that sustained them for decades.

A few of the words we used to describe our stay, in our nightly diary.....stars, sunshine, sunrise, history, paua culture, picket fence, pohutukawa, weka, stunning, beacons, ferries passing. A most memorable stay and we all hope to return for a longer stay. Nov 2016.

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