Six-metre long whale spine washes ashore on NSW far south coast beach

By Australian Geographic 23 June 2020
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“You don’t see this everyday.”

AS WHALES JOURNEY down the east coast of Australia as a part of their annual migration, locals of the far New South Wales south coast made an unusual discovery: a washed up six-meter-long whale spine.

(Image credit: Tony Hancock)

Merimbula local Tony ‘Spike’ Hancock found the enormous vertebrae at Wonboyn Beach, just south of Eden, a well-known whale watching hotspot. 

It was the strong stench wafting from the remains that led Tony to make the discovery. “When we got onto the beach, we could smell something really putrid,” he told ABC News

(Image credit: Tony Hancock)

“We walked up and had a look. The carcass had been stripped and there were huge bones. But the smell was quite a stench.”

Despite being a longtime resident of the area, this is the first time Tony has seen anything like this. “You don’t see that everyday.

“It looks like the sharks have stripped it bare and had a good feed. But who knows what happened … just to see something that size just puts it in perspective how big they are.”

(Image credit: Tony Hancock)

It’s unclear what species the vertebrae belongs to but scientists have identified seven possible species; humpback, sei, Bryde’s, fin, southern right, sperm, or a blue.

A spokesperson from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service said people were welcome to observe the carcass, but any touching or removing of the skeleton will be penalised.