As demonstrated by our waistlines, or lack thereof, we do enjoy good food and we became quite excited when we discovered the Wharfside Café which is right on the waterfront in the Port of Eden.
Lunch here is wonderful. Any meal here is wonderful. As within the Wharfside Café, the ambience of the whole area is just ... magic. Best of all I love going for a breakfast of eggs Benedict followed by a much-needed stroll along the jetty, watching the sturdy little trawlers and looking down at the cormorants 'flying' under the clear water in search of fish scraps and frequently seeing a fur seal or two as a bonus.
Occasionally a visiting luxury cruiser costing millions will provide a sharp contrast to the working boats. They don't look right, to me, these swish demonstrations of wealth. Not here in this 'olde worlde' port environment. Not as long as I can't afford one myself, anyway. And I never will.
Whaling was a prime industry in Eden in the early 20th century. The catching and killing of migrating baleen whales, such as humpbacks, was not carried out from large factory ships at sea as practised by the Japanese today, but from the shore using wooden boats to hunt and harpoon the prey, then tow the carcass back to the whaling station for processing.
Baleen whales don't have teeth, they filter krill and small creatures from sea water for nourishment. In addition to humpbacks, the following whales also fall into the baleen classification: bowheads, northern rights, southern rights, pygmy rights, grays, minkes, blues, brydes, omuras, seis and fin whales.
Humans were not the only predators of the baleen whales in the waters off Eden; orcas, known as killer whales, also hunted them. While humans harvested blubber and whalebone from the carcasses, killer whales were only interested in the lips and tongues of their victims; the remainder was wasted.
Here was an ideal opportunity for a partnership to develop and so it came to be. Rather than the whalers having to wait until the migrating baleens came inshore, the orcas could intercept the pods at sea and herd them towards the land. Once inshore, the whalers completed the kill leaving the carcasses moored to buoys overnight for the orcas to devour the lips and tongues. Since they touched nothing else, the following day the whalers would tow the remainder ashore and claim their spoils.
How this mutually beneficial arrangement came into being is not known though some believe the coastal Aborigines may have hunted in this manner for thousands of years.
The partnership with the killer whales was very profitable for the whalers.
The orcas further refined the system by sending an emissary to alert the
whalers once baleens had been herded into shallow water and corralled. One
such messenger came to be known as Old Tom. Tom would cavort around in the
water close to the whaling station, slapping the surface with his tail to
attract attention. The whalers quickly launched their wooden boats and followed
Tom to where his fellow orcas had the baleen whales surrounded. Some stories
insist that Tom would even take a rope in his teeth and tow the whalers'
The custom of leaving the dead baleens moored overnight for the orcas to eat their fill became known as the
Law of the Tongue. The killer whales understood that this was their entitlement and the whalers regarded the
Law as sacrosanct.
Many of the killer whales were easily recognised and given names by the whalers who became quite fond of them. Old Tom, however, was a special favourite and almost regarded as family by some whalers. Whether Tom was the leader of the pack is not known, no more is the length of time he engaged in his duties. He was said to have been over seventy years of age - perhaps even eighty or ninety - when he died. Yet another report states that examination after his death revealed he was only about thirty five.
One day John Logan of Edrom Lodge (see previous page) was out in his motorised yacht, White Heather, on Twofold Bay. With him was George Davidson, a friend and retired whaler. Unexpectedly a whale appeared next to the boat, driven to the surface by no less than Old Tom. George Davidson had his harpoon with him and he killed the whale.
Realising a storm was approaching, John Logan stated he would immediately tow the carcass back to shore for fear it would be lost if they secured it to a buoy as was customary. Not only was George Davidson aghast at this violation of the
Law of the Tongue, Old Tom was very put out too. He took the tow rope in his mouth and so began a tug of war with White Heather pulling one way and Old Tom the other. The result was never going to be in doubt, but to John Logan's horror, it didn't end until Old Tom had lost two teeth. John had been a veterinarian in the military and understood only too well the consequences of the loss for Old Tom.
Seven years later, in 1930, Old Tom's dead body drifted into Twofold Bay. Examination revealed abscesses where the teeth had been torn out. Old Tom had died of starvation.
His death led directly to the creation of the Eden Killer Whale Museum in 1931. John Logan was so wracked with guilt over Tom's death that he provided the premises for the museum. The carcass was processed and Tom's skeleton was mounted as a very unusual exhibit in the Museum.
The death of Old Tom ended an era. It also effectively ended the contract between the orcas and the whalers. There was a suggestion that the rest of Tom's pod was later slaughtered by Norwegian whalers on the Queensland coast, the Norwegians mistakenly believing the killer whales were a threat to their activities.
And that's the story of Old Tom, though perhaps it would be more accurate to say that's one version of the story of Old Tom.
In the insert in the picture (above) the name of John Logan occurs again, this time assisting the Air Force. In fact, the more you look into Eden's history, the more the name of John Logan crops up and always in a positive light - except when he inadvertently pulled out two of Old Tom's teeth. Even then, the migrating baleen whale population owed him a debt of gratitude. He made it up to the people of Eden by providing the town with its museum.
John began an electricity project for Eden, setting up his own plant to light the streets, hotels and public halls prompting (shaming?) the Imlay Shire Council into taking responsibility for a complete service to the area. Logan then had the Towamba River surveyed for a dam site to supply cheap electricity. (No suitable site seems to have been found as there is no record of a Towamba River hydro-electric scheme.) Again it was John Logan who, in the early 1920s, first drew attention to the potential to generate hydro electricity in the Snowy Mountains.
Logan brought a professional golfer to Eden to lay out Eden's first golf course on Lookout Point. Due to a housing development, the course was moved to it's present location. John Logan also had Eden's Log Cabin constructed in 1936 which he donated to Eden's Girl Guides where his daughter, Margaret, was First Lieutenant.
I must stress that the sources for all the 'information' I print on this site, mainly from the Internet, are not checked for accuracy. Sometimes I have to 'pick the meat from the bones' without really knowing where meat ends and bone begins. This site is just for fun and should never be regarded as a definitive historical record.
Having said that, what comes across repeatedly in Eden is what a valuable member of the community John Robertson Logan was. Yet it is the name Ben Boyd that is attached to the local National Park and other entities. The more you read of Boyd, the more self-centred and less likeable he appears. His over-riding purpose in life seems to have been to 'big note' Ben Boyd. Would it not be deserving if Ben Boyd National Park was renamed John Logan National Park?
According to one of those things that arrive daily in our Email 'Inbox', there's an annual contest at the Griffith University, Australia, calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term. This year's term was 'Political Correctness'. The winning student wrote:
Don't you love it?
Our time in wonderful Eden at an end, we hitched the 'van and headed for the state border and Bairnsdale in Victoria. We booked into the Mitchell Gardens Caravan Park where we stayed previously - see Page 131. After six weeks of awakening to the sound of waves breaking on Aslings Beach, we are now rudely awoken by trucks climbing the incline into Bairnsdale centre on the adjacent Princes Highway and the bellow of engine braking from trucks going the other way. Irate car horns and screaming emergency sirens punctuate the heavy truck racket.
It's not all bad, though. Just a few metres from our caravan we have access to a path which runs along the bank of the placid Mitchell River. The footpath, lined with large overhanging trees, is well screened from the traffic noise. The Mitchell flows from the Victorian Alps through Lake King and Lake Victoria before exiting into Bass Strait near the popular resort town of Lakes Entrance.
The town of Bairnsdale offers retail therapy and, what's more, tyre depots that actually appreciate business! We obtained two new tyres for the Pajero with no problems at all.
While on the subject of the Pajero, remember all the erroneous engine temperature indications we were experiencing? Well, everything has now settled down and is working perfectly. The cause of the problem remains a mystery but if throwing cash at it is a solution, it should now be perfect.
plenty of blackfish. With a population of around 3,000, Koo Wee Rup is Australia's largest asparagus growing district - bet you didn't know that! It is also a beef farming and potato growing area.
koala. Nar Nar Goon has a population of about 1,000 and is known locally as
The Mural Town. Imagine being pulled over by the police and responding
Nar Nar Goonwhen asked where you were from.
Barrett's Oesophagus. Nothing to be done. Check again in two years.
Under the Sea
The Sign of the Seahorseby Australian children’s writer and illustrator, Graeme Base. 3,500 tonnes of sand had been brought onto site to be compressed and carved into spectacular sculptures by a team of talented international and Australian sculptors. They bring to life, in meticulous detail, “Under the Sea”, a submerged world of breathtaking beauty and foreboding where reality and fantasy combine in massive sand sculptures.
SkyHigh Mount Dandenongwith gardens, streams, fountains, wooden sculptures, a café/restaurant and a function centre. There are dual level viewing platforms affording spectacular views from the Mornington Peninsula across the majestic sweep of Port Phillip Bay, surrounded by Melbourne’s growing urban fringes, to the You Yangs on the southern horizon. After sunset the southern sky, brilliant in the clear mountain night, is imitated by a spectacular carpet of glittering city lights. The words in italic are taken from their website.
Footnote: This re-working of Page 174 was completed on 4 April 2013. It conforms to HTML5 and CSS level 3.