'Peak oil - why didn't someone warn us?' cartoon by Alan Moir, the Sydney Morning Herald, 2008


This is a cartoon by Alan Moir which shows a man and a woman walking away from their car which has run out of petrol. Ahead of them are signs which they had passed warning them not to go any further due to the oil crisis.

Educational value

The sharp increase in petrol prices throughout the year gave rise to concerns that global oil production had reached its peak. Many cartoonists were quick to comment on the increased price at the bowser and its impact on the Australian public. Others offered a long term glimpse into a future without fossil fuels.

Political cartoons have a long history in Australia, and remain one of the most popular forms of political commentary. Though caricatures and satirical illustrations appeared in some of Australia's earliest newspapers, it was not until the 1830s that they became a frequent and respectable feature of the print media. Publications such as the Melbourne Punch, the Sydney Punch, the Bulletin featured both caricatures and cartoons, and it was through these publications that political cartoons became a popular element of the Australian press.

Alan Moir is the editorial cartoonist for the Sydney Morning Herald. Moir has also worked for the Bulletin and the Courier-Mail.

© Education Services Australia Limited and the National Museum of Australia 2009 onwards (except where otherwise indicated).

You may view, display, print out and copy this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.