Norfolk Island is a small island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, 877 miles directly east of mainland Evans Head, and about 370 miles from Lord Howe Island. The island is part of the Commonwealth of Australia, but it enjoys a large degree of self-governance.
Norfolk Island is three thousand miles from Australia. It is part of the Commonwealth of Australia and one of its few external territories.
In 1840, Alexander Maconochie, a privileged retired naval captain, became at his own request superintendent of two thousand twice-convicted prisoners on Norfolk Island. In four years, Maconochie transformed what was one of the most brutal convict settlements in history into a controlled, stable, and productive environment.
In 1855, the convict settlement was closed, not from a recognition of its brutality but because of the high costs to resupply it. The island lay uninhabited until 1865 and then became the home of the children and grandchildren of the Bounty mutineers, when the English government moved them from Pitcarirn Island.
Norfolk Island was home to more than 2,000 convicts living “crowded together in bug-ridden cells and dormitories, fed in a shed, which could hold about half their number, the rest eating outside proximate to a stinking communal privy, their food lifted to their mouths by their fingers, since knives and forks were prohibited, and lacking sufficient water regularly to wash themselves or their drab clothes."
The second penal settlement was established in 1825 and both settlements became known mainly for the deplorable and humane harsh treatment of prisoners. The oldest grave in the cemetery bears witness to those earliest years of untold horror and abject misery.
The first penal colony was established on Norfolk Island on 6th March, 1788; just five weeks after the arrival of the first fleet at Botany Bay. The penal colony was established under Commandant Lieutenant Philip Gidley King R. N. who thus founded the second British settlement in the Pacific.
By 1912, the damage left behind livestock were causing to Philip Island's vegetation was clearly evident. Pigs and goats had earlier destroyed much of the foliage, but the rabbits were undermining the soil structure and preventing regeneration. The island had become all but a wasteland.
In the late 1700s and early 1800s then Norfolk's penal settlements were in full swing, Phillip Island was overrun with pigs, goats and rabbits. The animals were introduced as 'hunting targets' for the officers of the day and as a food source for all of Norfolk's inhabitants.
This local language is not usually written and there are not formal rules regarding spelling. In 1986 Beryl Nobbs, and Islander, published the first dictionary of Norfolk words and usages.
English is the common language on Norfolk Island. Between themselves the Islanders use their own patois - a mixture of platt Deutsch, 18th Century English and Tahitian, brought to the island by the Pitcairners.