In 2008, the emperor penguin Aptenodytes forsteri colony at Amanda Bay, East Antarctica, was designated an Antarctic Specially Protected Area by the 31st Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine. It is only the third emperor penguin colony in the Australian Antarctic Territory to receive this status. The colony has been known to exist since 1956 and numerous visits have been made to it, especially by personnel from Australia's Davis station. On a number of occasions, attempts were made to estimate the number of birds in the colony in order to obtain an insight into the size of the breeding population. Here we report on the history of visitation to the colony since the 1950s and examine the quality of information collected with regard to the usefulness of this information in terms of population analyses. We also report the results of the first visit to the Amanda Bay colony made in winter with the specific purpose of estimating the number of birds present and of highlighting the need for long term monitoring programmes to assess the viability of emperor penguins in future.