A number of books have been published relating to the Eden Story, as well as numerous magazine and journal articles. Eden had a number of newspapers such as “the Propellor” and “Magnet”which carried articles detailing whaling events. Articles such as “The Law of the tongue” appeared in 1908. “Lone hand magazine” of 1908 contained a detailed story with interviews with George Davidson. Dakin devoted a chapter to the Eden story in his book “Whalemen Adventurers”.
Early Eden resident H.P Wellings, brother of photographer C.E.Wellings published a numberof small booklets devoted to the story. These are still available through the Eden Killer whale Museum. Collected papers and diaries of whalers and interested townsfolk are found in libraries and Museums in Australia.
Killers in Eden
Most recently, zoologist Danielle Clode has written “Killers in Eden”, a detailed scientific work on the Eden whaling story carefully researched from original sources. It details the remarkable cultural adaptions and intelligence of killer whales.
The work corrects a number of innacuracies found in other accounts.
In the light of modern scientific knowledge, Danielle speculates on the possible social structure of the Eden killer whale pod and the various reasons for their interaction and co-operation with the human whalers. Presently out of Print. Danielle also features in person in the ABC natural history unit documentary “Killers in Eden”.
A substantial effort to document the Eden Whaling story in book form was undertaken by Sydney Journalist Tom Mead for his fictionalised novel “Killers of Eden”.
Tom researched the story over a 15 year period from documents such as Dakin’s “whalemen adventurers”, and the collected papers and phamphlets of C.E & H.P. Wellings, examining newspaper archives and at times interviewing master whaler George Davidson and one or two members of his family.
Tom Mead was able to ask George to provide many details and produce a fairly accurate, yet fictionalised account of the story of the Killers and their remarkable cooperation with the Davidsons.
Killers of Eden has sold tens of thousands of copies and is still in publication by Dolphin Books.
Tom Mead has published numerous other dramatised yet factual books, many with nautical themes such as “The Fatal Lights” “The Seven Mile ships” “Empire of Straw” as well as “Man is never free” and “Breaking the News”.
Sadly, Tom passed away in 2004.
Tom’s books are available through the website of Dolphin Books.
Whalemen of Twofold Bay
An excellent visual companion to the written documentation is this book by Rene Davidson, grandson of George Davidson.
It is an extensive compilation of photographs of the whaling days, providing ample visual evidence of the veracity of many of the stories told of Eden Whaling.
Rene spent many years contacting relatives and townsfolk all over Australia to track down and copy as many original photographs as possible detailing the whalers, locations and killer whales of Twofold Bay.
Many of these historic photographs were originally taken by Eden residents C.E.Wellings and W.T. Hall.
Rene has also published a companion volume “Eden Revisited” which photographically details life in Eden and surrounds and various historic personalities, locations and industries.
Both books are available through the Eden Killer whale museum store.
Rene and Greg McKee continued to collect many images since the publication of these books
Requests for book copies can be faxed to Fay Davidson on
612 64963369 or by mail : Fay Davidson, 31 Maling st Eden 2551 Australia. Price , approx. AU $35 + shipping
Davidson Of Kiah
This is an as-yet unpublished work by Don Davidson (now deceased).
“Davidson of Kiah” is the most rigorously accurate, detailed and non dramatised yet dramatic history of the Davidson family describing their original sea voyage to Australia from Aberdeen, Scotland and follows the many adventures, exploits and tragedies of the generations of whaling Davidsons in Australia.
Upset with innacuracies in dramatised accounts, Don created this book to set the record straight on the Davidsons.
Contrary to the stereotype of boistrous hard drinking whalers, loungeing in taverns, Don reveals the first generations of Davidson whalers to be fanatically scottish, strict, tea-totalling, hardworking, devout presbyterians.
George’s Davidson’s wife is revealed to be called “Nell”, never “Sarah” and his Father John is a tough, strict non-drinker who will not let his children whistle on Sundays.
The book covers many quirky details of life at Kiah and documents many fascinating yet little known Davidson family annecdotes and facts. The book was available by special request in limited runs from Rene Davidson. Please contact Greg McKee or Fay Davidson.
The Judas Fish
A fictionalised novel of Eden whaling by Kenneth Cook, author of “Wake in fright”, Cook sets his tale in “Threefold bay” and renames Old Tom as “Old Judas” .
Cook fictionalises the Eden story to an even greater degree than Mead and implies scorn for the Killer whales, suggesting some form of Judas-like treachery and canibalism for their participation in the death of other whales. (No such scorn is reserved for sharks which are fish eating other fish or eagles hunting other birds.) The human relationships in the story bear little resemblance to the lives of Eden Whalers. Cook uses the Eden like setting for his own purposes with whalers and personalities portrayed more in common with Moby Dick Nantucket stereotypes than the reality of the Davidsons.