Whaling Museum Postmark - Special Stamp Collection Cancellation

Whaling Museum Postmark of South Georgia

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Whaling Museum Postmark - Special Stamp Collection Cancellation

The South Georgia Whaling Museum Grytviken

The Whaling Museum cover inscribed the Postmarks of the “South Georgia Whaling Museum with the Skins of Whale” and the Pot used for Manufacturing the Medicines using the Whales. Its a superb item for the Antarctic and Whaling stamp collectors.

Whaling Museum Postmark of South Georgia

A new whaling museum has been opened at the site of the first Antarctic whaling station, Grytviken in South Georgia. Grytviken was founded by the Norwegian whaling pioneer Captain C A Larsen in 1904 and finally ceased operations in 1965, by which time more than 54,000 whales had been processed there, producing oil to a value of about £25 million.

Initially, only the blubber from the whales was used from which oil was boiled out and used for making edible fats. The carcases were discarded and the bones from these litter the shores of the bay. Later, the whalers were compelled by the terms of their licences to utilise all parts of the whales and the bones were also boiled out for oil and then converted into bone meal for fertiliser.

At South Georgia-the British administration closely controlled whaling by restricting the numbers of shore-based whaling stations and limiting the number of whale catchers they were permitted to use and also by protecting female whales accompanied by their calves. Unfortunately, these restrictions were not adequate to protectthe whale stocks, because in 1925, the invention of the stern-slip factory ship allowed whaling to take place onthe high seaswithoutany restrictions. The International Whaling Commission, set up after the Second World War, proved ineffective in controlling catches and whale stocks declined steeply, leading to the abandonment of the whaling industry at South Georgia.

Recognising the importance of the whaling industry in the history of South Georgia, and its significance as a warning of the fragility of natural resources, even those that were initially very abundant, the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands approved a grant in 1990 to facilitate the setting up of a museum at South Georgia to preserve and display relics of the whaling industry and the life of the whalers on the island during the period 1904-1965.

The museum incorporates the whole of the complex of factory and accommodation buildings at Grytviken but is centred on the old Managers House, or Villa. In this typical Norwegian wooden building rooms have been cleared and decorated and artefacts from Grytviken and other whaling stations on the island have been displayed. Whaling operations are shown in photographs spanning nearly half a century from about 1913. Harpoon guns dating from the beginning of the century to the most modern weapons produced are arranged outside the villa. The Petrel, a whale catcher built in 1928, is moored alongside the whaling station, and two other vessels, Albatros (1921) and Dias (1906) have foundered at their moorings at another quay.

By the provision of information labels, leaflets, photographs and re-creations, the Museum aims to explain to visitors the significance of the remains at Grytviken. The Museum received its first visitors in January 1992.

The Museum is operated by the South Georgia Whaling Museum Trust, incorporated by Ordinance No. 1 of 1992. The Project Director is Nigel Bonner who spent nine seasons at Grytvikenduring the height of the whaling industry in the 1950’s.

Thanks the South Georgian Postal department for Issuing the wonderful thematic postmark.


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