Whaling was always big business in Albany, peaking in 1845 before its rapid decline after the discovery of petroleum oil in 1859. After a resurrection of the whaling trade, Cheynes Beach Whaling Company set up camp in 1952 along the pretty coastline of Frenchman’s Bay and hunted Humpback and then Sperm whales until its closure in 1978. By 1980, this former site of slaughter was transformed into an historic Whaling Station and takes its place in history as the last whaling station to operate in Australia. Although it’s a terrible part of our past, I am still fascinated by what went on here. It’s easy to spend half a day wandering around exploring the Norwegian whale chaser, watching a few short films and checking out the old whaling gear. There are lots of stories to read about ships and crew, and the 45-minute tour is a good way to get your bearings. Whether you leave feeling appalled or relieved at how far society has come, you best stop at Whalers Galley Cafe to reflect. Considering the amount of carnage that went in this bay, the serenity is astonishing. The café has a cosy indoor area with floor to ceiling windows to capture as much of the sun as possible, and a large outdoor deck that can be opened right up in warm weather. I order just one scone, which is fluffy with a creamy texture. Unfortunately the scone is let down by the Kraft sachet jam and the ‘too’ light cream. A better quality jam and cream would definitely boost this Devonshire Tea into the amazing stakes. Visit the Botanic Garden and Australian Wildlife sections of Discovery Bay if you have the time or the inclination.
Tea: Tea Drop tea pouches served in a teapot.
Overall: A view to die for.
Location: Discovery Bay, Whaling Station Rd, Frenchman Bay WA 6330 Ph: 08 9844 4711
Reviewed March, 2015