Norfolk Island (Norfuk: Norfuk Ailen) is a territory of Australia. It is in the South Pacific Ocean between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. It was one of the first British settlements in the Pacific. Twice it was used as a penal colony. People from Pitcairn Island were moved to Norfolk Island. It is now a popular place for holidays.
Norfolk Island is a small volcanic island. Its size is about 5 mi (8 km) by 3 mi (5 km). It is about 1,000 mi (1,609 km) northeast of Sydney, and 600 mi (966 km) north of Auckland. Most of the island is 350 ft (107 m) above the level of the sea. There are two high points on the island about 1,000 ft (305 m) above sea level. South of Norfolk are two smaller islands, Nepean Island and Phillip Island.
The first people to visit Norfolk Island were probably from New Zealand. The first European settlers found parts of a canoe and stone axes. Later work by archaeologists in 1995, found the remains of a house in the sand dunes at Emily Bay. It was lived in from about 1200 AD to about 1600 AD. Scientists do not know why the people left the island.
Norfolk Island was first discovered by Captain James Cook on October 10, 1774. He was on his second trip around the world in his ship, the Resolution. He landed on the island which was uninhabited (there was no one living there). He found a flax plant (Phormium tenax) and large trees, now called Norfolk Island Pines (Araucaria heterophylla). He thought the flax could be used to make cloth for ship sails and the pine trees would make good masts for ships. He used one of the trees to make a new top mast for the Resolution. Cook wrote about the island in his book, A Voyage towards the South Pole, printed in London in 1777.
The British government sent Captain Arthur Phillip with the First Fleet to start a penal colony in Australia in 1788. He was told start a small settlement on Norfolk Island as soon as possible to stop other European countries from claiming the island. The French ships, L'Astrolabe and La Boussole, commanded by La Pérouse, visited the island in early 1778. They could not land because the waves were too big and rough. La Pérouse thought the island was only suitable for "angels and eagles".
First settlement 1788 - 1814[change]
The first European settlers on Norfolk Island arrived on March 3, 1788. After two days looking around the island, the settlers landed at Emily Bay, part of Sydney Bay, on March 6. This day is now celebrated as "Foundation Day". They had come on the HMS Supply, from the new settlement at Sydney, New South Wales. Philip Gidley King was in charge of a small group of 21 people, including 15 convicts, (9 men and 6 women). The convicts were to be people of the best character and included Richard Widdicombe aged 72, and Charles McLennan aged 16. The settlers were:
- James Cunningham - master's mate from HMS Sirius
- Thomas Jamison - surgeon's mate from HMS Sirius
- John Turnpenny Altree - surgeon's assistant
- Roger Morley - sailor from HMS Sirius
- William Westbrook - sailor from HMS Sirius
- Charles Heritage - marine
- John Batchelor - marine
During the first year of the settlement, which was also called Sydney, more convicts and soldiers were sent from New South Wales. A second village was started at Ball Bay, named after the captain of HMS Supply, Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball. On January 8, 1789, the first child was born, Norfolk King, the son of Philip Gidley King and a convict, Ann Inett.
HMS Sirius wrecked[change]
In March 1790, Governor Arthur Phillip decided to send King to England with important messages about the settlements in Australia. Phillip sent Major Robert Ross, in charge of the soldiers at Sydney, to Norfolk Island to take over from King. Food was running out in Sydney, so Phillip also sent two companies of soldiers, five free women and children, 183 convicts and 27 children of convicts. Phillip hoped there would be more food on Norfolk Island. They were sent on two ships, HMS Sirius and HMS Supply.
On March 19, HMS Sirius, smashed into one of the reefs in Sydney Bay, Norfolk Island. No one was hurt, and Captain John Hunter was able to get all the people and most of the supplies safely to land.
HMS Supply went back to Sydney, and Major Ross was left with over 500 people on the island. He quickly did things to make sure there would be enough food. Anyone taking food, or killing animals for food, without his permission, would be hanged. They were saved from starvation by the annual arrival of a sea bird, a petrel (Pterodroma melanopus), which nested in holes in the ground. Between 2000-3000 birds were killed for food every night. They were also able to eat their eggs. They called the petrel the "Bird of Providence", because they thought God must have sent the bird to save them. People also ate the tops of the palm trees. In August, two ships arrived, the Justinian and the Surprize, which brought more food and 200 more convicts.
King got back to Norfolk Island in November 1791, and Ross went back to Sydney. More convicts were sent to the island, and by September 1792 there were 1,115 people living there. King started building another landing place at Cascade Bay, which meant ships had a choice, depending on which way the wind was blowing. The convicts had difficulty in making things from the flax plants. Two Maori men were captured in New Zealand and taken to Norfolk to teach the convicts how to use the flax. The two men, Hoodoo and Toogee, did not know much about flax; in New Zealand this was a task done by the women. King had the men taken back to New Zealand six months later.
By 1796, 1,528 acres (618 ha) had been cleared of trees and crops planted. These crops included maize, wheat, potatoes, sugar cane, bananas, guavas, lemons, apples and coffee. Farms animals included 12 cattle, 6 horses, 12 donkeys, 374 sheep, 772 goats and 14,624 pigs. There were two schools and an orphanage for little girls. King had been in poor health and went back to Sydney, and Captain Townson, from the New South Wales Corps, became the new Lieutenant-Governor.
End of the settlement[change]
Lieutenant governors of the first settlement:
- 6 March 1788–24 March 1790: Lieutenant Philip Gidley King (1758–1808)
- 24 March 1790–Nov 1791: Major Robert Ross (c.1740–1794)
- 4 November 1791–Oct 1796: Lieutenant Philip Gidley King
- October 1796–Nov 1799: Captain John Townson (1760–1835)
- November 1799–Jul 1800: Captain Thomas Rowley (c.1748–1806)
- 26 June 1800–9 September 1804: Major Joseph Foveaux (1765–1846)
- 9 September 1804–January 1810: Lieutenant John Piper (1773–1851)
- January 1810–15 February 1813: Lieutenant Thomas Crane (caretaker)
- 15 February 1813–15 February 1814: Superintendent William Hutchinson
When Joseph Foveaux arrived as Lieutenant Governor in 1800, he found the settlement quite run down. Not much had been done to keep it in good condition for four years. He began fixing buildings and other public works and tried to improve education.
In 1794, King suggested closing Norfolk Island as a penal colony. It was too far away from New South Wales, it was hard for ships to land there, and it cost too much to keep it going. In 1803, the Secretary of State, Lord Hobart, called for the moving everyone to Van Diemen's Land, because of the cost and the difficulties of travel between Norfolk Island and Sydney. The settlers did not want to move, they had worked hard to clear the land and set up their farms. They wanted the government to pay them for having to move. King, now Governor of New South Wales, did not want everyone moved, he thought it would make a good prison for bad convicts from New South Wales. It could also be a place to supply whaling ships, or grow coffee.
The British government decided to close down the island. The first group of 159 people left for Van Diemen's Land in February 1805, mainly convicts and their families, and the soldiers. Between November 1807 and September 1808, most of the people were moved. By March 1810 there were only 117 left.. In 1813 the last settlers were taken to Van Diemens's Land, the soldiers were taken to Sydney. The British government did not want another country to be able to settle on the island so a small group stayed behind to kill all the animals that were left and destroy all buildings. In February 1814, the last people left on the ship, "Kangaroo". Only a few wild pigs and goats were left.
Second settlement 1825-1854[change]
In 1825 the British government decided to set up a new convict prison on Norfolk Island. This was to be a prison for convicts from New South Wales who continued to break the law. The Governor of New South Wales, Sir Thomas Brisbane wanted it to be place from which there would be no return. It was to be the worst punishment short of death. Many of the convicts were lashed with a nine tailed whip. This could be as many as 300 lashes at one time, and many had been lashed over 1000 times. Because it was to be a prison, there were no free settlers allowed on the island, and there were no women prisoners. Only government ships, or ships in distress, were allowed to land at the island.
Third settlement 1856[change]
After the prison was closed, the British government gave the island to the people from Pitcairn Island. Pitcairn, with only 30 hectares of land suitable for farming, could no longer cope with a large population. All 194 people were moved to Norfolk in 1856. These people were descendants of the mutineers from HMS Bounty. They arrived on the island on 8 June 1856, and the anniversary is celebrated every year as Bounty Day.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Norfolk Island|
- Hoare, Merval (1969). Norfolk Island: An Outline of Its History, 1774 - 1968. St.Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press.
- Anderson, Atholl; White, Peter. "The Prehistoric Archaeology of Norfolk Island, Southwest Pacific" (PDF). Australian Museum. http://amonline.net.au/pdf/publications/1334_complete.pdf.
- "The World of Norfolk". hmssirius.com.au. 2011. http://www.hmssirius.com.au/the-world-of-norfolk. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- Macnaughtan, Don (2001). [http://lanecc.edu/library/don/norfolk.htm "The Mystery Islands of South Polynesia Bibliography of Prehistoric Settlement on Norfolk Island, the Kermadecs, Lord Howe, and the Auckland Islands"] (htm). Lane Community College Library. http://lanecc.edu/library/don/norfolk.htm. Retrieved January 31, 2009.
- "Norfolk Island History - Starvation on Norfolk". discovernorfolkisland.com. 2011. http://www.discovernorfolkisland.com/norfolk/starvation.html. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- Fletcher, B.H. (1966). "Foveaux, Joseph (1767 - 1846)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved on 27 August 2011.
- "Norfolk Island History - The Second Settlement". discovernorfolkisland.com. 2011 [last update]. http://www.discovernorfolkisland.com/norfolk/second.html. Retrieved 27 August 2011. "Sir Thomas Brisbane wrote: `I could wish it to be understood that the felon who is sent there is forever excluded from hope of return'."
|States and territories of Australia|
|New South Wales • Queensland • South Australia • Tasmania • Victoria • Western Australia|
|Mainland: Australian Capital Territory • Jervis Bay Territory • Northern Territory|
|Overseas: Ashmore and Cartier Islands • Australian Antarctic Territory • Norfolk Island • Christmas Island • Cocos (Keeling) Islands • Coral Sea Islands • Heard and McDonald Islands|