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Norfolk Island

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Location: Norfolk Island, Australiamap
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Norfolk Island is a small island of around 35 square kilometres (13 square miles) located in the Pacific Ocean between Australia, New Zealand, and New Caledonia. It lies 1,412 kilometres (877 miles) directly east of mainland Australia's Evans Head, and about 900 kilometres (560 miles) from Lord Howe Island.

From its first colonial settlement the Island was variously overseen by the governors of New South Wales or Van Diemen's Land/ Tasmania. The island is currently formally deemed to be part of the Commonwealth of Australia, although many continue to question the legitimacy of this status.[1]

Periods of Settlement

There are in fact at least 4 separate periods of settlement of Norfolk Island, and three separate sub-categories for use in WikiTree profiles:
  1. Prior to 1788 Norfolk Island was colonised by East Polynesians but it was long unpeopled when first settled by Europeans as part of the settlement of Australia in 1788.[2] Carbon-dated artefacts have been associated with the period between 800 and 1400 CE, possibly indicating a long continuous settlement or a series of settlements.
  2. 1788 - 1814: The First European (Colonial) Settlement was established on 6 March 1788 (less than 2 months after the first European settlement in Australia) and this extended until 15 February 1814.[3][4] Although a penal settlement it seems that the convicts who were here during this period were relatively well-treated and generally trusted. Farming and cultivation were the focus in order to produce food for New South Wales. It was ultimately deemed to be too remote, difficult for shipping, and costly to maintain. The number of residents began to reduce from 1805 and the Island was fully abandoned in 1814. For the full duration of this period Norfolk Island was part of the Colony of New South Wales.
  3. 1825 - 1855: The Second European (Penal) Settlement ran from 6 June 1825 until 5 May 1855.[5][6] Under instruction from the British Government, Governor Brisbane oversaw the reoccupation of Norfolk Island as a site to hold "the worst description of convicts", that is recalcitrants and recidivists. Because of this, this period saw a generally harsher level of treatment of convicts than during the First (Colonial) Settlement 1788–1814. This second settlement began to wind-down in 1847 and was fully abandoned in 1855 when the last convicts were moved to Van Diemen's Land. During this settlement the Island was part of New South Wales until late 1844, and thereafter it was part of Van Diemen's Land/ Tasmania.
  4. From 1856: Just over a year after the abandonment of the second settlement, on 8 June 1856, the Third Settlement began when it was settled by former Pitcairn Islanders.[7][8] From late 1856 the Island ceased to be part of what was then Tasmania and became subject to administration by the Governor of New South Wales, although it was a separate and distinct territory. In 1913, the United Kingdom handed Norfolk over to Australia to administer as an external territory.


  1. Norfolk Island: Norfolk Island's relationship with Australia
  2. The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA): Norfolk Island, Polynesian Settlement (before 1788)
  3. Norfolk Island: The First Settlement
  4. The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA): Norfolk Island, First (Colonial) Settlement 1788–1814
  5. Norfolk Island: The Second Settlement
  6. The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA): Norfolk Island, Second (Penal) settlement 1825–1855
  7. Norfolk Island: The Third Settlement
  8. The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA): Norfolk Island, Third (Pitcairn) settlement 1856–present

See also:

  1. Norfolk island Land
  2. NSW Corps Norfolk Island
  3. First Fleeter Deaths on Norfolk Island

This Free Space Profile was initially created as the repository for historically significant images relevant to the European settlements of Norfolk Island starting from 1788.

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Categories: Norfolk Island