Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island is an island in Melanesia, administered as part of New South Wales in Australia. It is 1600 km (1000 mi) east of Sydney and Brisbane and 1000 km (620 mi) northwest of Auckland. It’s an ideal relaxation destination, with a range of accommodation and dining, beautiful vistas, history and reefs.

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There are two settlements on the island:

  • -29.05167.9666671 Kingston the historic settlement, convict ruins and beaches.
  • -29.033333167.951 Burnt Pine the commercial centre. Shopping and dining.

Although the distance between Burnt Pine and Kingston may look walkable on the map, it is a steep road with no footpath or lighting. Car is best.

There are a number of other small settlements on the island but residences and attractions are distributed around the island.

Map of Norfolk Island

Captain Cook discovered and named the island after Lady Norfolk during his second voyage around the world. He observed the presence of the tall Norfolk Pine, that he thought would be suitable for ship’s masts, and flax that would be useful for sails.

The first settlement was established by the British a few months after their settlement in New South Wales in 1788. Some of the most capable men and women were sent from Sydney to the island, to exploit what Cook had observed. It was also hoped they could be a source of food and other supplies to the struggling settlers in Sydney town. None of these hopes were realised, and the colonists on Norfolk Island were also struggling to feed themselves. When the island was evacuated, nearly all of the structures were destroyed.

The second settlement was from 1825 to 1855. This time the settlement was made with a purely punitive function. Whereas the first settlement was made up of free settlers, convicts and military, and also had both genders, the second settlement was all male, and all convicts and military. Many of the military left their wives and children in Sydney while they served their time on Norfolk. Over 2000 convicts were housed on the island, more than the total present-day population. Substantial structures were built. Eventually the cost of running the colony was no longer justified, and the convicts were all transferred to Van Diemens Land and the colony evacuated.

The third settlement in 1856 was by former inhabitants of Pitcairn Island. The Pitcairn Islanders were descendants of the Bounty mutineers (Christian, Young, McCoy, Adams, Quintal) and the later Pitcariners (Buffett, Evans and Nobbs). Pitcairn Island was unable to support 200 inhabitants, and Queen Victoria offered them land grants on Norfolk Island with the convicts departing. The administrators of the island from the second settlement stayed long enough to show the Pitcairners the way of life on Norfolk, before they themselves left the island.

Although Norfolk Island has been a self-governing territory of Australia for much of its history, in 2016, the Australian government decided to reduce Norfolk Island’s autonomy and annex it to the state of New South Wales.

Later influences were from the American sealers, and migration from Australians and New Zealanders.

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