Artist: Sabine Carter
Joseph Hatch was an entrepreneur who was granted a licence to extract oil from royal penguins on Macquarie Island in 1891. For more than 25 years his gangs killed and boiled 900 penguins at a time in his digester. “A pint per penguin’’ was his aim. Contrary to the popular rumour, the birds were not herded alive into the digester but clubbed and gutted first. Penguin skins were also kept for making fashion clothing. More than 3 million penguins were killed over nearly three decades. The photo on the right shows the remains of the ‘steam pressure cookers’ (digesters) that were brought to the island from the late 1880s.
"As someone who moved to the Pacific region from Europe, I had never heard of Joseph Hatch and of penguin oil. Sometimes you come across information online and wish you had never found it."