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A whaling harpoon swivel gun and two harpoons

Whaling began in Australia in 1791 and quickly became an important part of the colonial economy. In New South Wales it made up half of the export industry in the 1830s. But a rapid decline in whaling exports led to an almost complete collapse of the industry by the mid-1800s. Despite its whaling past, Australia is now a world leader in whale protection initiatives.


National Museum of Australia

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