Eighty years after his death, one of the most famous whales in Australian history will be reincarnated in the waters of Twofold Bay on the NSW Sapphire Coast.
‘Old Tom’ the killer whale will be joined by some of Eden’s ‘whalemen’ as they reappear to tell the unique story of how they worked together in days gone by, as part of the Eden Whale Festival over the weekend of October 29-30.
Thanks to a grant from Festivals Australia, the committee organising the Whale Festival will be able to close the event’s first day with an exciting laser light and sound show in the port of Snug Cove, highlighting the role the killer whales played in the town’s economy and history.
“The death of Old Tom in 1930 sparked the creation of our famous Eden Killer Whale Museum the following year,” says organising committee spokesperson, Jenny Robb.
“So this year’s Festival really marks an important anniversary in our history. The story of Old Tom and his killer whale pack very much belongs to Eden.
“As far as we are aware, there has been no similar pact between man and these marine mammals anywhere else in the world, and it’s a collaboration that pre-dates European settlement – the Aboriginals also tell stories of killer whales that helped them hunt and kill the bigger whales, so it is a fascinating story and one we hope to tell in a very special way this year,” Ms Robb says.
“We’re very excited about being able to have the laser show and we think it will be a highlight of what is being planned as a very interesting and entertaining weekend, focussing on all that whales mean to the town.”
The Festival coincides with high season on the ‘humpback highway’, the annual southward migration of the humpback whales, from the warm northern waters where they give birth, to their home in the Southern Ocean.
The waters off Eden are a popular playground for these wonderful animals. Now hunted by tourists armed with cameras rather than harpoons, they stop here to feed before heading out into Bass Strait, attracted by the whirlpool-like mixing of the southern and northern currents which brings their food to the surface.
While killer whales are obviously the feature creatures (visitors should ensure they book a whale watching cruise in advance), the Festival will also include popular activities such as the street parade, the model ship display, the capstan pull and carnival rides, but there are also plans for seafood cooking demonstrations, a kayak event, a fun run, bike ride, dragon boat display, hot rod show and vintage car display – and a mobility scooter obstacle course!
The tall ship, the Young Endeavour, will sail into Twofold Bay on Saturday and moor in Snug Cove, so it’s also a chance for visitors to check out this beautiful vessel that is used for The Royal Australian Navy's sail training program.
Eden is located on the Far South Coast of NSW, Australia. It is approximately halfway between Sydney and Melbourne (six/seven hours’ drive) and about three hours’ drive from Canberra.
REX operates daily flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Merimbula with land connections easily arranged. There is also a bus service from Sydney and Melbourne.
More details about the area, and accommodation bookings, are available on the Sapphire Coast Tourism website, You can also email [email protected] or call toll-free on 1800 150 457.
High-res photographs available on request.
More media information:
Liz Swanton, Media Liaison
Sapphire Coast Tourism
Telephone 02 9771 1277 International + 61 2 9771 1277
Mobile 0417 232 643 International + 61 417 232 643
Email [email protected]