Norfolk Island


Norfolk Island is located in Melanesia, Oceania. Australian Outer Territory located in the Pacific Ocean between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.



Captain Cook discovered and named the island after Lady Norfolk during his second voyage around the world. 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. Hopes for self-sufficiency did not materialize, and the colonists on Norfolk Island struggled to feed themselves. When the island was evacuated, almost all structures were destroyed.

The second settlement was from 1825 to 1855. This time the settlement was carried out with a purely punitive function. While the first settlement consisted of free settlers, convicts and military men, and both sexes, the second settlement had men, all convicts and military men. Many of the military left their wives and children in Sydney while they served in Norfolk. Over 2,000 convicts were housed on the island, more than the current total population. In the end, the costs of maintaining the colony were no longer justified, and all convicts were transferred to Van Diemens Land, and the colony was evacuated.

The third settlement in 1856 belonged to the former inhabitants of Pitcairn Island. The islanders on Pitcairn were descendants of the Bounty rebels and later inhabitants of Pitcairn. Pitcairn Island was unable to feed its 200 inhabitants, and Queen Victoria offered them land grants on Norfolk Island with the convicts' departure. The island's administrators from the second settlement stayed long enough to show the Pitcairns the way of life in Norfolk before they left the island themselves.

Although Norfolk Island has been an autonomous territory of Australia for most of its history, in 2016 the Australian government decided to reduce the autonomy of Norfolk Island and incorporate it into the state of New South Wales.

Later settlers descended from American sealers, Australians and New Zealanders.


The administrative center is the town of Kingston on the south coast. Of the approximately 1750 inhabitants, some 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. There are also traces of a Polynesian settlement from the 12th-15th centuries in the area. century found.

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

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

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

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 “enjoying” the Australian system of taxation, health insurance and immigration regulations for the first time since 2016. This does not find unanimous approval.


Getting there

The area is still a duty-free zone. Flights from the mainland are handled at the major airports in the international area.

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

By plane
Norfolk Island International Airport (Norfolk Island Airport, IATA: NLK) Air New Zealand flies twice weekly from Brisbane and Sydney, and Air Chathams connects the island to Auckland every Friday. The international duty-free allowances may be used on the return flight to the mainland. Last change: Oct. 2017 (information may be out of date) edit info
By boat
Since July 1, 2016, there has been a permanently manned border police post. The general Australian regulations apply on arrival, although Australian citizens must also be able to identify themselves. Customs, the area remains a duty-free zone, can be contacted (only during normal office hours) on VHF 16.



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 story
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


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

cellphone and internet
Telephone code: ☎ +672 3…
Local calls to landlines are free. Phone booths are located 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. You can still make calls using the GSM standard, although an upgrade has been in the works since 2016. Roaming is done through the major Australian operators.

Credit for using WiFi hotspots can also be purchased but is relatively expensive (2017: 1 hr A$5, 10 hr A$35; 1 GB: A$25, 4 GB: A$70).

Post Office, 6 Taylors Road, Burnt Pine. Norfolk Island issued its own postage stamps from 1947-2016. The Australian Post Office, which is now responsible and whose tariffs apply, will continue to issue stamps with the overprint Norfolk Island, Australia.