Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island is an external territory of Australia. The administrative seat is the town of Kingston on the south coast. Some of the approximately 1,750 residents speak a dialect in which archaic English is creolized with Tahitian words (Norf'k). The approximately 250 hectares of the Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area there are under special protection as a monument to human cruelty as a world heritage site. The area also has traces of a Polynesian settlement from the 12th-15th centuries. Century found.

The local time zone is UTC +11½ which is 1½ hours ahead of EST (Sydney) and 1½ hours behind New Zealand. Daylight Savings Time has been in effect since 2020.

Burnt Pine. The largest settlement is in the center of the island with 180 inhabitants.

The island was a convict colony from 1788 to 1813 and again from 1825 to 1855, with cruel treatment of prisoners particularly common during the second phase. As on Lord Howe Island, descendants of the Bounty mutineers from Pitcairn settled here from 1856 onwards.

Due to increasing financial difficulties - the number of visitors fell from 40,000 to 26,000 annually - support was sought in Canberra in 2012. The federal government granted aid, but at the price of largely abolishing the autonomy that had existed since 1979. The island has been benefiting from the Australian system of taxation, health insurance and immigration regulations for the first time since 2016. This does not meet with undivided approval.


Getting here

The area remains a customs exclusion area. Flights from the mainland are handled at major international airports.

The import of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers is prohibited, and pork and chicken are not allowed to be brought from New Zealand.

By plane
Norfolk Island International Airport (Norfolk Island Airport, ​IATA: NLK) . Air New Zealand flies twice a week from Brisbane and Sydney, and Air Chathams also connects the island with Auckland every Friday. International duty-free allowances can be used when flying back to the mainland.

By boat
There has been a permanently manned border police post since July 1, 2016. The general Australian regulations apply upon arrival, but Australian citizens must also be able to identify themselves. Customs, the area is still a customs exclusion area, can be contacted (only during normal office hours) via VHF 16.



Visitors Information Centre, Taylors Rd., Burnt Pine (between post office and liquor store). Open: daily 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Botanical Gardens (past the hospital to the end of Grassy Rd, right at the start of the national park). Former private garden (6000m²). Open: daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
St. Barnabas Chapel, Douglas Dr. Erb. 1875-80. Open: Mass Sun. 8.30.

The Kingston and Arthur's Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) and the preserved buildings from the time as a convict colony are part of the World Heritage Site. They are located within a few hundred meters of the Museum Theater, Bounty St

Along Slaughter Bay: Convict Hospital, the pier Kingston Jetty with a view of the wreck of the HMS Sirius and at the end of the adjoining Emily Bay the lookout point with the Lone Pine.
On Quality Row are: All Saints Church, whose facade is more like a 19th century administrative building, No 10 Quality Row House and, across the street, the golf course. Behind this is the old cemetery hidden by the sea. Further along the path is the Bloody Bridge.
Museum, Several small locations in Kingston. Tel.: +672 3 23788. Open: daily 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Guided tours Mon.-Sat. 9.30 and 11.00; Cemetery tour Tue, Fri 11.30am (A$20); Pier Store Museum Sun only. Price: A$10 per museum, combo ticket A$25.


What to do

Enjoy natural beauty especially in the national park. Bird watchers find rare species everywhere. The highest point on the island is Mont Bates height = 319m. A hiking trail leads up to Mt. Pitts, then further. The last piece is wooden steps. Aside from the magnificent distant views, you can also visit the ruins of a radar station from World War II.

Captain Cook Lookout, Duncombe Bay Rd (Access the marked Red Stone Link Track from Bird Rock Lookout and Birdle Track). At the spot where Cook is said to have briefly landed in 1774. With toilet and picnic area.



Smaller shops usually open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., sometimes with a lunch break from 12:30 p.m. It is also customary to close on Wednesday afternoons. Burnt Pine's commercial streets are Douglas Dr. and the subsequent Taylors Rd.

Norfolk Mall. Open: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Liquor Bond Store, Taylors Rd., Burnt Pine (near the Visitors Center) has a monopoly on the importation and wholesale of alcohol. Tel.: +672 3 22505. Tourists can buy up to 3 liters of schnapps at a discount of 30% once upon presentation of their flight ticket. Open: Summer: Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Fri./Sat. until 6.30 p.m.; in winter 30 minutes earlier.



Around 80 percent of visitors arrive as package tourists.

Holiday apartments, lodges (pensions) and hotels share the market. Under A$80 p.p. There are no overnight accommodations to be found in 2017.

Overview for accommodations in the upper price range.



Emergency doctor: ☎ 911
Fire department: ☎ 955
Police: ☎ 977 or 22222

Hospital, Grassy Rd, Burnt Pine. Tel.: +672 322091. 28 beds, with pharmacy and dentist (☎ +672 322910). The only point of contact for medical care on the island with three doctors, one of whom is only part-time. Integrated into the Australian Medicare system since July 2016. Severe cases may be flown to the mainland. Open: 24 hour emergency room.infoedit
The climate is subtropical with an average annual temperature of 19°C and 1350 mm of annual precipitation. Tropical storms occur particularly from May to July. The sea water temperature is 17-18°C in winter, and in mid-summer in February it can reach 24°C.


Practical tips

Bounty Day is celebrated as a local holiday on June 8th. Bounty Day is celebrated in memory of the arrival of the Pitcairn Islanders on Norfolk Island in 1856, who left Pitcairn Island in search of better living standards.

Mobile communications and internet
Telephone area code: ☎ +672 3…
Local calls to landlines are free. Telephone booths are available at the Communication Center at 9 New Cascade Rd. in Burnt Pine. There are special pre-paid SIM cards from Norfolk Telekom, for A$ 20. This allows you to make calls using the GSM standard, although work has been underway to upgrade this since 2016. Roaming is via the major Australian operators.

Credits for using Wi-Fi hotspots can also be purchased, but are relatively expensive (2017: 1 hour A$5, 10 hours A$35; 1 GB: A$25, 4 GB: A$70).

Post Office, 6 Taylors Road, Burnt Pine. From 1947 to 2016, Norfolk Island issued its own stamps. The now responsible Australia Post, whose tariffs apply, will continue to issue stamps with the imprint Norfolk Island, Australia. Open: Mon.-Fri. 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Sat. until 12:00 p.m.



The history of Norfolk Island begins in the 14th-15th centuries, when it was settled by Polynesian fishermen.

Early history
The first settlers are believed to be East Polynesian fishermen who came either from the Kermadec Islands or the North Island. They arrived on the island in the 14th or 15th century and lived there for several generations before leaving. Their main settlement was found near Emily Bay. The settlers also left stone tools, after which small rats and banana trees remained on the island, which proves the presence of settlers here. New Zealand flax was also brought to the island, taken either from Raul Island or from New Zealand. The further fate of the fishermen is unknown.

The first European to visit the island was James Cook in 1774 during the Second Pacific Expedition on the sloop Resolution. He named the island after the Duchess of Norfolk, although she had died a year earlier, which Cook did not know.

James Cook landed on the island on October 11, 1774. He collected samples of New Zealand linen to report on its potential use for the navy. At this time, Britain was very dependent on flax for sails and hemp for ropes. Any problem in the supply endangered Britain's maritime power. Also, the British Empire needed New England wood, which it lost during the American Revolutionary War. Some historians, such as Geoffrey Blaney, believe that the resources were the reason for the forced settlement of Australia.

hard labor settlement
Since 1788, the island began to be used as a place of exile for prisoners from England. In 1814, the colony was abandoned as an expensive one, but in 1825 the prison was restored and intended for especially malicious criminals. Governor of New South Wales Ralph Darling said: "My goal is to make this settlement a place of the most severe punishment, close to death." The prisoners worked in the quarries and in the mill, where they manually set the heavy millstones in motion, they were forced to wear heavy shackles and mercilessly flogged for the slightest infractions. The island, which could have remained a peaceful Pacific paradise, for 30 years - until 1854 - turned into the most severe hard labor prison. Several times the convicts unsuccessfully staged rebellions.

New history
In 1856, part of the inhabitants of Pitcairn Island, descendants of the rebels of the Bounty ship, moved to Norfolk. In memory of this event, the most important local holiday, Bounty Day, began to be celebrated on Norfolk every year on June 8th.

In the same year, 1856, a local government was established on the island, which was under the control of the governor of the British colony of New South Wales.

In 1901 the island became part of the Commonwealth of Australia.

In 1913, Norfolk became an Australian "outside territory" and was administered by an administrator appointed by the Australian government.

During World War II, Norfolk was used as an air base and fuel depot on the route from Australia to New Zealand and the Solomon Islands.

In 1979 Norfolk's internal self-government was expanded.

From 1979 to 2015, the Legislative Assembly acted as a legislative body. On June 17, 2015, the Australian Government abolished the Assembly, which temporarily ended self-government on the island.

In 2016, Australia extends its institutions and laws to Norfolk Island, implementing the decision taken in March 2015 to annul the territory's self-government status.

The 2021 census was held on Norfolk Island



Norfolk Island is located around 1,400 kilometers east of the Australian continent and is part of the almost 1,100 km long Norfolk Ridge, which extends south from New Caledonia. The island is surrounded by inaccessible cliffs except for the southern area with the capital Kingston. The highest peaks on the island are the two mountains Bates (319 meters) and Pitt (318 meters). In addition to Norfolk Island, the territory also includes the smaller, uninhabited islands of Nepean and Phillip. Norfolk Island, like Phillip Island, is of volcanic origin and therefore offers fertile soil for agriculture. The largest town on the island is Burnt Pine.



The climate is subtropical and permanently humid with an average annual temperature of 19 °C and 1350 mm of annual precipitation. Cyclones, which occur particularly in the first months of the year, pose an exceptional danger.



Within the Interim Biogeographic Regionalization for Australia, Norfolk Island belongs to the Pacific Subtropical Islands (PSI) bioregion and forms the subregion PSI02.



There are 174 native plants on the island. Of 51 endemic species, 18 are considered rare or endangered. Before European colonization, most of the island was covered by subtropical rainforest, with Norfolk fir in exposed areas, palms and tree ferns in wetlands, and lianas and ferns in the understory. An area of five square kilometers was declared Norfolk Island National Park in 1986. The Norfolk tree fern (Cyathea brownii), which is considered the largest tree fern in the world, grows here.

The original rainforest is threatened by numerous neophytes.



Following deforestation of the native subtropical rainforest, many species and subspecies of native birds have become extinct. Introduced feral mammals such as rats, cats, pigs and goats as well as competing bird species such as blackbirds and pennant parakeets also contributed to this. Extinct species include the endemic Norfolk kaka, Norfolk ground pigeon and Norfolk Island thrush. Many bird species show similarities to the species of New Zealand. Several species of seabirds breed on Nepean Island, which is part of Norfolk. The Solander's Petrel was extinct locally at the beginning of the 19th century, but is now breeding again on the neighboring Phillip Island. Other seabirds that breed there include the Kermadec petrel, Australian booby, red-tailed tropicbird and sooty tern.



In 2016, the island had 1,748 residents, which corresponded to a population density of 51 people per square kilometer. The population is made up of one third of the descendants of the Bounty mutineers (Pitcairners) and two thirds of Australians, New Zealanders and Polynesians who have immigrated over time. Disputes often arise between the two groups. While the descendants of the Pitcairn people who moved to the island in 1856, who see themselves in the tradition of their ancestors, advocate conservative politics with the independence of Norfolk Island as their goal, the descendants of the immigrants are progressive and, because of their origins, more cosmopolitan - that is, they are nurturing close contacts with the mainland.

The majority of the population speaks English (45.5%), 40.9% still speak Norf'k-Pitcairn, a mixture of 18th century English and old Tahitian. Less than a third (29.5%) of the residents belong to the Anglican Church, the rest is divided between the Uniting Church in Australia (9.6%) and the Roman Catholic denomination (12.6%). 26.8% are atheists.

The murder of 28-year-old Australian restaurant manager Janelle Patton in March 2002 preoccupied the local police and judiciary for years and caused quite a stir, as no such crime had been committed on Norfolk Island for more than a century. The hearings in the trial against the defendant began in August 2006. On March 9, 2007, the first murder trial in 151 years ended with a guilty verdict for New Zealand chef Glenn McNeill.




The island was founded in March 1788 by the first convict colony in Australia in Botany Bay as the second British convict colony and was under the instructions of the governor of the first convict colony in New South Wales Arthur Phillip. After the island was abandoned in 1813, it remained deserted until 1825, when a penal prison was built on the island that was directly under the control of the British Crown. The prison was abandoned in 1855 and in 1856 numerous descendants of Bounty mutineers settled on Norfolk Island with the permission of the British colonial administration. In the same year it became a separate territory subordinate to New South Wales with the greatest possible autonomy. It was not until 1979 that the political situation changed again.


Norfolk Island Act 1979

As an Australian territory, Norfolk Island was administered by the Department of Environment, Sport and Territories from 1979. The current constitution was the Norfolk Island Act of 1979, which granted the island a certain degree of independence, such as the establishment of its own legislature, police, judiciary and customs authority. The legal basis was the Australian laws, and there were also a number of local regulations. In public areas not governed by Australian law, British law applied. The judicial bodies were the Supreme Court and a court for minor offenses, the Court of Petty Sessions.

The head of state is the British King Charles III, and the administrator appointed by the Australian Governor General and the Federal Executive Council (Eric Hutchinson since April 1, 2017) acts as the representative of Australia and the Crown on the island. A nine-seat parliament, the Norfolk Legislative Assembly, was elected every four years by everyone over the age of 18. Each voter had nine equal votes available, of which he could give a maximum of four to one candidate. Parliament elected the Prime Minister, who headed a five-member government. The last head of government on the island was Lisle Snell, who was elected to the Norfolk Island Regional Council, which consists of five members, in 2016.

List of heads of government and prime ministers
August 10, 1979 – May 21, 1986: David Ernest Buffett
May 21, 1986 – May 22, 1989: John Terence Brown
May 22, 1989 – May 20, 1992: David Ernest Buffett
May 20, 1992 – May 4, 1994: John Terence Brown
May 4, 1994 – May 5, 1997: Michael William King
May 5, 1997 – February 28, 2000: George Charles Smith
February 28, 2000 – December 5, 2001: Ronald Coane Nobbs
December 5, 2001 – June 2, 2006: Geoffrey Robert Gardner
June 2, 2006 – March 28, 2007: David Ernest Buffett
March 28, 2007 – March 24, 2010: Andre Neville Nobbs
March 24, 2010 – March 20, 2013: David Ernest Buffett
March 20, 2013 – June 17, 2015: Lisle Snell


Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

The Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, which was enacted by the Australian Federal Parliament on May 14, 2015 and received Royal Assent on May 26, 2015, abolished Norfolk Island's self-government on June 30, 2016 and the island became independent from the following June 1. July becomes subject to the New South Wales State Legislature. Since then, the administration of the island has been the responsibility of the Norfolk Island Regional Council. Annexation to Australia is controversial among the population. The island is represented in Australian general elections in the Australian Capital Territory.

Norfolk Island Legislation (Migration) Transitional Rule 2016
Since 2016, Norfolk Island has been included in the Australian migration zone with the Norfolk Island Legislation (Migration) Transitional Rule 2016. This means that boat people who land on refugee boats cannot apply for asylum in Australia and they will be held in immigration detention in Australia.



Norfolk Island's gross domestic product was AUD 81.8 million in 2016. The foreign trade balance is strongly negative; In 2016, imports of around AUD 60 million were compared to exports of less than AUD 3 million. Unemployment is at a very low level of 1.6% (2016).

The most important economic factor, with a share of almost 40% of the country's economic activities, is tourism, which has brought the population a certain level of prosperity and, above all, connection to the rest of the world. In particular, the now restored buildings of the former convict settlement in Kingston (Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area) and the nature reserves that make up a quarter of the island (e.g. the bird reserve on Phillip Island, see also Norfolk Island National Park) are popular points of contact for visitors. The island can be reached via an airport; There are no real harbors, only two piers in Kingston and Cascade. The complex unloading with auxiliary ships leads to comparatively high prices for imported goods.

The second important sector of the economy is agriculture. By growing grain, fruit and vegetables as well as producing beef, poultry and eggs, the island is largely self-sufficient. The main exports are the seeds of Norfolk Island's characteristic fir trees, rhopalostylis palms, avocados and postage stamps of interest to philatelists all over the world. Buyers can be found in the other Pacific countries, Europe and Asia.



Norfolk Island has no waterways, ports or rail network. Ship piers exist in Kingston and Cascade Bay, but large ships cannot be unloaded there as the piers are not designed for this purpose. Unloading is carried out by smaller auxiliary ships that can load up to five tons per trip. Frequent rapid weather changes can cause the discharge to drag on for several days.

There is also an airport, Norfolk Island International Airport. The New Zealand airline Air New Zealand offers regular flights to Brisbane and Sydney.

The road network covers around 80 kilometers, of which 53 kilometers are asphalted and 27 kilometers are unpaved. By law, cows have priority over other forms of transport on the island.

The government-owned company “Norfolk Island Electricity” is responsible for supplying the island with electrical energy. It operates a power plant in Burnt Pine with six diesel-powered generators with an output of 1 MW each. Since the maximum power requirement is only around 1.7 MW, a maximum of two of the generators work at the same time. There are also private solar systems with an installed capacity of 1.4 MW, most of which are integrated into the electricity grid. Because there is no storage option, the excess solar power produced during the day must be destroyed. The power grid consists of 44 km of high-voltage lines operating at 6,600 volts and 44 km of low-voltage lines.

There is a hospital on the island, but it is only allowed to carry out minor operations. In more difficult cases, patients must be flown to mainland Australia, with the government covering the costs. In emergencies, medical evacuations are carried out by the Royal Australian Air Force.



Country-specific holidays are Founding Day on March 6th (the first convicts arrived on the island on this day in 1788) and the national holiday “Bounty Day” (arrival of the former residents of Pitcairn Island in 1856) on June 8th. Additionally, the Norfolk Islands are one of the few territories or countries outside of the United States that have Thanksgiving as a holiday. In addition, numerous Australian and British public holidays are valid.

One of the island's main attractions is Fletcher's Mutiny Cyclorama, a realistic cyclorama depicting the story of the Bounty Mutiny and the islanders. Part of Norfolk Island and the offshore Phillip Island are protected as a national park (see Norfolk Island National Park). Since 2010, the original convict camp, the Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area, has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its historical significance.



As a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Norfolk Island regularly takes part in the Commonwealth Games as an independent nation with its own national team. The same applies to the Pacific Games. The participation is organized by the Norfolk Island Amateur Sports and Commonwealth Games Association as the umbrella organization of sports associations.