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Reproduced courtesy of Jonny Lewis

Image depicting the Whale and Dolphin Coalition Poster

Date: 1977
Medium: Digital image files
Credit Line: ANMM Collection reproduced courtesy of Jonny Lewis
Object Copyright: ©Jon Lewis
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Digital image
Object No: 00054513
Related Place:Albany,

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    Description
    This poster by Peter Wright was used to advertise the blockade of the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company site on 28 August 1977. The Whale and Dolphin Coalition formed in Sydney by Australian photographer Jonny Lewis and French businessman Jean-Paul Fortom-Gouin in 1974. On the 28 August 1977 they commenced a three week long protest and blockade of the Cheynes Beach Whaling Station in Albany Western Australia. The blockade drew world attention to whaling activities in Australian waters and by the end of 1978 the station had taken its last whale.







    SignificanceThis poster was designed to attract supporters to attend the blockade of the last operating whaling station in Australia at Cheynes Beach in Albany, Western Australia on 28 August 1977. The poster design is fairly typical of the flyers and ephemera produced and distributed by enviornmental campaigners in Australia during the 1970's. The design incoroprates the whalers harpoon and the hands of the people being called to protect the whale from destruction.

    HistoryFollowing the announcement by the United States Government that they intended to trial nuclear weapons in a series of underground test on the island of Amchitka in Alaska, in the late 1960s a series of anti-nuclear demonstrations were organised by a loose knit federation of environmental and religious groups called The Don’t Make a Wave Committee. Over the next few years the committee, notable Jim and Marie Bohlen, Ben and Dorothy Melcalfe, Robert and Bobbi Hunter, Irving and Dorothy Stowe, developed a form of passive resistance which they termed ‘bearing witness’ and from the Stowe’s house established an international environmental organisation which today has global significance, the Greenpeace Foundation, in 1972.

    When the Amchitka nuclear tests and resulting protests were over the Greenpeace Foundation moved their anti-nuclear focus to the French atmospheric nuclear weapons testing at the Moruroa Atoll in French Polynesia, and following the death of Irving Stowe in 1975, broadened their operations to include anti-whaling operations in the Pacific as well as campaigns against toxic waste dumping and commercial seal hunting.

    Inspired by the Foundations success against both the American and French Governments by the mid-1970s independent groups using the name Greenpeace started springing up around the globe and by 1977 they were 15 to 20 Greenpeace groups worldwide who adhered to a series of ecological policies called the Greenpeace Declaration of Interdependence.

    One such group morphed from The Whale and Dolphin Coalition, which was formed in Sydney by Australian photographer Jonny Lewis and French businessman Jean-Paul Fortom-Gouin in 1974. Led by Lewis and Fortom-Gouin Greenpeace’s first direct action in Australia opened on the 28 August 1977 at Albany, Western Australia and targeted Australia’s last whaling station at Cheynes Beach.

    The Cheynes Beach Whaling Station, formed by the Westerberg and Birss families, salmon fishers from Albany in Western Australia, Fred Edmunds, an ex-Point Cloates, (Western Australia) whaler and Syd Reilly from Perth in 1952 operated a small fleet of whale chasers which harpooned both Humpback and sperm whales off the southern coast of Western Australia before towing them back to the shore-based whaling station near Albany for processing.

    From late August to late September 1977 Lewis, Fortom-Gouin and their Greenpeace supporters used Zodiac inflatable boats to place themselves between the whale chasers operated by the whaling station and the migrating whales, preventing some of the whales from being killed. The movie footage and still photographs of the blockade and protest went round the globe and subsequently due to national and international pressure in November 1978, after taking over 15000 whales, operations at Cheynes Beach Whaling Station ceased.


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    Photographer: Jon Lewis

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