Grytviken was the first whaling
station on South Georgia, established in 1904 by a Norwegian,
Carl Anton Larsen captain of the Antarctic from the
Swedish South Polar Expedition of 1901-1904 following
his arrival in Buenos Aires being rescued by the Argentine
Navy after the ship had been lost.
Carl, Anton Larsen
Captain of the "Antarctic" and founder of
whaling on South Georgia
Whaling here was very profitable
from the start which led to the establishment of other stations
nearby over the next few years, there were seven by 1912. South
Georgia was the capital of whaling in the world
due to its position and due to the huge numbers of large baleen
whales that came to Antarctica during the brief but highly productive
summer months to fatten themselves up.
In the early days only blubber
was taken, later on the meat was taken too though the rest of
the carcass was pushed out to sea. There are huge quantities
of whale bone still strewn across beaches in South Georgia from
this early practice shortly afterwards however the bones were
At the height of whaling
activities, there were around 500 people living and working
on or around South Georgia.
The station was run by the Compania
Argentine de Pesca founded by Larsen in 1904 through to 1960
when it was sold to another company Albion Star of South
the final two seasons it was sub-leased to a Japanese company
and finally ceased to be used in 1965.
The main picture
from a trip to Antarctica in the summer of 2010 - 2011 for the
purpose of researching former whaling stations and companies
by Ulf Gustafsson of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
copyright Ulf Gustafsson.