Wireless Station, c. 1912
The AAE Macquarie Island Party, 1911
(F. Hurley, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW)
Digestors at Lusitania Bay
In 1911 Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) stopped at Macquarie Island en route to Antarctica. A wireless repeater station was established at what is now known as Wireless Hill and a hut was built on the Isthmus for a party of five who were to remain on the island. The scientific group travelled extensively and left descriptions of many of the sealing sites where they often sheltered in the surviving huts.
The AAE party left the island in December 1913 to be replaced by the Commonwealth Meteorological Expedition. The station's records and one of the expedition members were lost in 1914 when the Commonwealth research vessel Endeavour disappeared without trace after leaving Macquarie Island. The meteorological station was finally abandoned in December 1915 when the party was taken off by the Rachel Cohen.
Following the visit of the AAE to Macquarie Island, Douglas Mawson headed a campaign to declare the island a nature reserve, and condemned the royal penguin industry in particular. Despite continued public denials by Hatch, he was finally forced, through the cancellation of his licence in February 1920 to cease operations at Macquarie Island where the last load of oil had been taken off in April of the previous year. Even without this cancellation, Hatch might not have been able to continue because of increasing financial difficulties which resulted in the liquidation of his company in April 1920.