All aboard the Roaring 40’s Gallery! This exhibition takes visitors on a multimedia adventure through many hundreds of kilometres south of Stewart Island, to the remote and starkly beautiful subantarctic islands. Here visitors can learn of the fascinating history of the islands, discover the incredible wildlife that live there, and explore the environmental processes that have combined to create these truly unique places.
The exhibition begins with the natural history of the subantarctic islands. Key displays include a giant spider crab and distinctive siren-like call of the white-headed petrel, albatross migration paths and vast penguin colonies that belong to the subantarctic region.
Visitors can step aboard the General Grant and hear the tragic final moments of the ship, before it was wrecked, leaving only 15 survivors out of the 83 passengers and crew. Learn of the triumphs and dramatic setbacks of these subantarctic castaways and the variety of skills, ingenuity and perseverance required to survive on the subantarctic islands for months, even up to years, before being rescued.
Further into the exhibition you will come to the coast-watchers display. This section looks at the teams of men sent to remote areas on Auckland and Campbell Islands during WW2 to watch for German raiders and make observations about the wildlife and natural environment of the islands.