Search the Collection
Advanced Search

Stockwhip with whalebone handle and plaited leather thong

Date: 19th Century
Overall: 40 x 2270 x 40 mm, 0.4 kg
Medium: Whalebone, leather, brass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Tools and equipment
Object Name: Whip
Object No: 00002640

User Terms

    This plaited leather stockwhip has a carved whalebone handle, made from 'panbone', the sperm whale jawbone. This stockwhip is an unusual example of the uses of whalebone. Unlike many ostensibly functional objects fashioned from whalebone, the stockwhip handle is genuinely functional and shows signs of use. The stockwhip handle has been scrimshawed.
    SignificanceThe stockwhip is a rare scrimshaw item with distinctive Australian character illustrating the historical link between the whaling and pastoral industries.
    HistoryThis stockwhip combines Australia's two earliest primary industries: whaling and the pastoral industry. Research into shore whaling stations in southern Australia (presented at the AWSA Conference at La Trobe University 13-14 July 1997) shows that whaling was often practised in the season by landholders who worked their pastoral holdings for the rest of the year. Whaling was Australia's first primary industry and until 1833 it was a more valuable export business than wool. The industry peaked in the 1840s but was seriously affected by crews leaving for the gold fields in the 1850s.

    Scrimshaw was originally a maritime craft that developed from the unique conditions encountered on whaling ships in the early 19th century. It is produced by engraving, carving, inlaying or assembling bone from marine mammals, such as sperm whale jawbones and teeth, walrus tusks, porpoise and dolphin jaws, and baleen, usually for inlays. Using jackknives, saws, homemade files or sharp sail needles, seamen would often etch on the bone images of women, whaling scenes or other memories from home.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Stockwhip with handturned whalebone handle and plaited leather thong

    Web title: Stockwhip with whalebone handle and plaited leather thong

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.