Davidson Whaling Station is located on the southern shore of Twofold Bay, 35km by road south of Eden on Kiah Inlet at the mouth of the Towamba River. The buildings still existing on the site comprise the cottage 'Loch Garra', the detached kitchen/dining room which may have pre-dated the cottage, a garden shed and a shower shed built by the Boyds.
The buildings are of timber construction with traditional weatherboards or timber slab external cladding and corrugated iron roofing.
Remnants of the Davidson's gardens include the collapsed and overgrown fences of the orchard to the east of the cottage garden and the lawn outside the garden fence. This section also includes an old dam. The existing garden, a creation of the Boyds,
Only fragments of the brick footings and fireplace, some roofing timbers and three ship's tanks used as pots for the storage and transport of whale blubber remain on the site.
The remainder of the site consists of an open woodland of woollybutt and silver-top ash on the exposed ridge, with a moist forest of black wattle and pittosporum in the gullies and monkey gum with bracken undergrowth on the slopes above Kiah Inlet.
Historic artefacts occur throughout the site.
A number of Aboriginal middens have been recorded. One is located under the brick footings of the tryworks and extends towards the inlet. Another, located above the cottages, is known to have been the site of a women's camp during the whaling period. A large midden is located on the headland and isolated shells and artefects are scattered throughout the site.
A shield tree, now dead, is enclosed in situ within the storage compound. (NSW National Parks 1995: 3, 8-12)
Archaeological Potential - High
Shore based whaling at Twofold Bay began in 1828 and was undertaken by numerous whaling groups, the main ones being the Imlay brothers, Benjamin Boyd and the Davidson family. Old open boat techniques were in continuous use at Twofold Bay for over 100 years.
The Davidson family began whaling around 1860. A tryworks for boiling down the blubber was built inside Kiah Inlet, possibly on the site of an earlier tryworks, where whales could be drawn up on a sandy beach. In 1896 George Davidson built the cottage, Loch Garra, above the tryworks on 17 acres of leasehold land. This land now comprises the majority of the historic site. In 1920 when Davidson applied to convert his leasehold to free title his holding consisted of a cleared, partly fenced area with a 6 room weather-board house, detached kitchen, workshop, established orchard, garden, and dam. Further outbuildings and additions to the cottage were added later.
Until the first decade of the twentieth century, whaling was carried out almost full time from the station by Alexander Davidson, his son John and grandson George. A catch of 10-15 whales each season was reported. After that time whaling became an opportunistic activity with George Davidson undertaking farming and grazing on the site to buffer the whaling station against fluctuations in the market and uneven seasonal catches. By 1925 the enire catch for the season was reported at 2 whales.
In 1927 Davidson Whaling Station was described by Professor Dakin, an early authority on the marine biology of the Australian coastline, as dating from Melville's time, using the technologies of 'the old bay whalers of the 1840s'.In 1929 the last Whale was caught at Twofold Bay. The Davidsons moved from the station in the 1940s.
Dr and Mrs Boyd, who purchased the property for a private residence in 1954, replanted much of the garden area and made further additions to the cottage.