Hurley’s photograph promoting Cascade beers on Nugget’s Beach, Macquarie Island, is a reminder that Mawson’s expedition was dependent on funding or in-kind support from many sources as well as on post-expedition fundraising through film screenings, books and photographs. The photographs, films and books produced about Antarctica helped make the public aware of the importance of preserving Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands from exploitation whether for its natural or mineral resources.
Hurley appears to have tried to remove from the photograph the penguin oil operation buildings visible in the background. Hurley and Mawson were both appalled at the wholesale slaughter of Antarctic wildlife by sealers and whalers. In the years that followed, Mawson and Hurley used their influence to try to stop the Macquarie Island penguin oil industry. Hurley declared in The Sydney Morning Herald on 14 August 1919 that ‘the time has come when the public should raise their voices and end this inhuman slaughter’.
Macquarie Island became a wildlife sanctuary in 1933 and was listed as a World Heritage Area in 1997.
Antarctic wildlife fascinated Mawson’s expeditioners from their first encounters on Macquarie Island. Footage of appealing and humorous penguins and other Antarctic wildlife was an important factor in gaining public and governmental support for their preservation from the early days of polar exploration. Films such as David Parer’s early wildlife documentaries, Antarctic Winter (1973) featuring 25,000 emperor penguins and Antarctic Summer (1973), helped promote public interest in the biology of animals and birds which survive and thrive in the Antarctic environment.
Recent popular films, such as the Academy Award-winning documentary film The March of the Penguins (La Marche de l’Empereur, Dir: Luc Jacquet, France, 2005) and Happy Feet (Dir: George Miller, Australia, 2006), reference earlier Antarctic footage and continue to promote the protection of Antarctica as the last great wilderness.