Killers of Eden
The Killers of Eden” is a book by Tom Mead which is centred on the unique relationship between a pod of killer whales and the local whale hunters, between 1840 and 1930.
The bunch of killer whales would assist local fishermen, by herding other whales into Two Fold Bay, alert locals of their presence, and assist in the kill.
Killer Whales (Orcas) are known to be the most effective hunters of the sea. Over 1000’s of years these highly intelligent creatures became aware that Baleen and other whales passed through the waters around Eden, on their annual migration to warmer waters.
The plan was simple. Lay in wait around the areas of Leatherjacket Bay, and ambush the migrating whales. Each whale was strategically positioned to chase the Baleen whales into shallow waters. This enabled the killer whales to have a strategic advantage, as the Baleen Whales could not dive to larger depths, enabling an escape route.
Once herded into Two Fold Bay, the Orcas would alert the locals by giving out a breaching or tailslapping at the mouth of the Kiah River. A particular favourite of theirs was the Davidson Family, whose property was located along Kiah River.
From this point the fishermen would then be guided by the whales to where the Baleens would be.
In a small seaside town, world gets around pretty quickly, all the locals especially the school children will gather around the bay and watch the kill. Years later on same school children will give eyewitness accounts on the ABC production Killers of Eden
In a matter of minutes the poor Baleens would be harpooned by the fishermen. At the same time the Killer whales will work in harmony and come in for the kill. The surrounding water will be red with blood and guts. It was killing scene like no other.
For compensation, the killer whales were given their prize, the tongues of the Baleen whales.
Many of the Eden killer whales were individually known and named, often after whalers who had died. Some of best known killer whales included Old Tom (who died 15 September 1930 and skeletons is in the Eden Whale Museum ), Hooky, Humpy (died 1926/7), Cooper, Typee (died 1901), Jackson, Stranger, Big Ben, Young Ben, Kinscher (female), Jimmy, Sharkey, Charlie Adgery, Brierly, Albert, Youngster, Walker, Big Jack, Little Jack, Skinner and Montague.
How did it all begin?
The Yuin people of Twofold bay benefitted for 1000’s of years from the natural hunting strategies of the local Killer whales. The killer whales would herd the Baleens onto the local beaches. Thus giving the Yuin people a source of food. For their efforts the Yuin’s would supply the Orcas, with tongues and carcases of their capturers.
In its early years local aboriginals were employed on the whaling boats passing down generational knowledge of the local killer whales.
The killer whales of Eden have now become Australian legend. For 1000’s of years they had been working side by side with humans ensuring co-operative hunting. Despite the numerous widespread co-occurrence of whalers and killer whales elsewhere, the special relationship developed around Eden is unique to anywhere in the world.