Site of the Waaygat Whale Factory in Betty's Bay, Western Cape
The land on which the Whaling Station was erected formed an integral part of the history of Betty’s Bay area as a whole. The land formed part of the Waaygat Farm and passed through several members of the Louw family, originally Adriaan&nbs;Louw, father to Gabriel Louw, before being transferred to John Gadney in 1840. Between 1840 and 1899 Waaygat was transferred to many new owners, some of whose names were used for other small towns in the area. The Walsh families were the last owners before the Whaling Station was erected and the ownership now was that of Hangklip Estate. Hangklip Beach Estate eventually subdivided the land and sold off small portions which became the settlements of Betty’s Bay, Rooi Els and Pringle Bay.
Three separate companies undertook whaling at this Stoney Point site which was established in February 1912. The Southern Cross Whaling Station was operational for the 1913 and 1914 seasons, no whaling took place in 1915, after which Shepstone Whaling and Fishing Company took ownership until 1918. Irvin and Johnson Ltd (I&J) acquired ownership and whaling continued during 1920, however, the plant lay inactive between 1921 and 1925. Whaling resumed under I&J until 1930 when the Station closed permanently. On average, each season of whaling slaughtered 300 Southern Rights whales for their oil.
Today the site is one of hope, conservation and community with Cape Nature as custodians and a new eco centre open to the public. The abandoned Hangklip whaling station was first noticed by concerned Betty’s Bay residents who saw its potential to attract tourists in the same way the Stoney Point Penguin Colony has. It was agreed that the site could provide additional interest to those visiting the penguins and today offers displays recounting the history of the site. The site has approximately 10 000 visitors annually and is a must for visitors to the area.
Things to do and see
- Whaling Museum
- Information Boards at site locations
- Old Managers House
- Concrete foundations of Blubber House, Meat House & other buildings
- Old Timber Slipway (now a concrete slipway)
- Trolley tracks on the cutting up plane
- On the Edge Restaurant
Currently there is no charge to visit the site. Admission charges are however subject to change, please contact the tourism office to confirm this.
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