Thomas Fishery is a historic site in the heart of the Cape Arid wilderness. In the 1870s a whaling station was established at Thomas Fishery. It consisted of some shacks and a large fireplace, with a giant iron try pot in which blubber was boiled down. These whales were the prime target of bay whalers, so named because they were the ‘right’ whales to hunt. They were slow, came close to shore so rowboats launched from the beach could give chase, and yielded much oil and baleen. Nothing remains of the station today, but you may see southern right whales along the coast when they come close to shore to give birth and nurse their young.
Around the same time the whaling station was established at Thomas Fishery, pioneering settler William Ponton ran sheep across what is now the northern part of Cape Arid National Park. In 1903 he moved south and established a property called ‘Gabtoobitch’ on the west side of Mount Arid. On the east side, just 2km north of Thomas Fishery, his niece and her family established ‘Hill Springs’. The family here had cows, hens, ducks and pigs, grew their own fruit and vegetables, and cleared the land to grow hay for their animals. Not long after the death of William Ponton in 1909, hardship and isolation forced the family to abandon Hill Springs. For more information visit TrailsWA.
Camping is available at Thomas Fishery with very basic campsites and few facilities. Following a bushfire in October 2015 Thomas Fishery campground has a limited capacity of three campsites.