Throughout the 19th century South Georgia had first been a sealers' base and, in the following century, became a whalers' base. Prince Olav Harbour was the site of one of the seven main whaling bases established on South Georgia. Prince Olav Harbour was the location of a former Norwegian whaling station operational dating from 1911. The whaling station was initially a floating factory site, a shore station being set up in 1916. The whaling station continued as a shore station until March 1931 and then was closed. The name was in use as early as 1912 and was given by Norwegian whalers for Crown Prince Olav of Norway.
The Brutus was deliberately beached at the Harbour to serve as a coaling station. It was built in Glasgow in 1883, and weighed 1,700 tonnes. It was originally known as the Sierra Pedrosa. It was towed from Cape Town. Brutus Island in the harbour is named after it.