Because that’s the way it is: A happy dancing group showcasing Norfolk Islands Arts, Culture and Tourism

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Dars-de-waye: Because that’s the way it is – it’s the tourism slogan for Norfolk Islands.

What a happy group of people! Representing Norfolk Islands at the festival of the blue planet in Guam was a group of young people dancing to a fun South Pacific songs and marching into the packed stadium in Guam during the Festival of Arts opening ceremony last Sunday.

One of the regions on the blue planet attending the ongoing FESTPAC in Guam are the South Pacific Island group of Norfolk Islands. Latitude 29.03º south and longitude 167.95º east. 2 1/2 hours flight from Sydney gets visitors to a peaceful quietude blended with a subtropical air on a petite space of 3455 hectares in the southwest Pacific Ocean Norfolk Island!

Watch the eTN Video:

Norfolk Islands is part of Australia.

The local tourism board says: A holiday to Norfolk Island will do you ‘the world of good’! Throughout 365 days of the year you are welcomed to experience three hundred and sixty degrees of wonder. Immerse yourself in a learning space and absorb four layers of history, participate in special community events, pursue a sport or creative expression, or just surrender to your surrounds.

Dars-de-waye… Because that’s the way it is.

History of Norfolk Island
Four Stories One Island

Before Settlement

Norfolk Island is all that remains of numerous volcanoes produced by a massive lava surge three million years ago. Over the following millennia, the rich volcanic soils nurtured the mighty araucaria (pine), tree-ferns, palms and various hardwoods and softwoods that became the nesting places for a remarkable variety of land birds and migratory sea birds.

FIRST HUMAN CONTACT

By 800AD, Norfolk Island was a thickly forested sanctuary for birds, lizards and bats, surrounded by waters abundant with marine life. Positioned as it was between New Caledonia and New Zealand, it was apparently the perfect stopping point for the great sea-faring voyagers of the era, the Polynesians.

Subsequent archeological studies have verified this. Arte-facts have been carbon dated to a period between 800 and 1400 AD, which could indicate a long continuous settlement or a series of settlements. Remains of houses, outdoor ovens and a marae were excavated in the dunes behind Emily Bay, the magnificent lagoon on the island’s south west corner. Kermadec obsidian arte-facts indicate that at least some of the settlers were possibly from there, perhaps traveling to New Zealand as part of the last great wave of the Polynesian diaspora.

Almost four hundred years after their mysterious disappearance, the first British settlers could still see the clues of Polynesian occupation through the presence of bananas, bamboo, flax and the Polynesian rat. They also valued the fascinating arte-facts that washed up on the shore or were dug up in the fields.

THE BRITISH ARRIVE

When James Cook adjusted his telescope to focus on Norfolk Island, back in 1774, could he have envisaged how he would reshape the story of this tiny island? Certainly he intended to make his mark on the place as he recommended to the Admiralty that it be used as a source of masts, spas and sails for the burgeoning British navy.

As a result, Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the First Fleet to arrive in New South Wales, dispatched a party of twenty-two men and women under the command of young Lieutenant Phillip Gidley King to make a settlement on Norfolk Island, soon after they had pitched their tents at Botany Bay. King’s task was to put the fifteen convicts under his command to work felling and milling the Norfolk Island pines and preparing the flax for the making of canvas. But things didn’t work out as planned.

They discovered that the native pines, though excellent for all types of construction, were not suitable for battleship masts; and the flax was a mystery to the Irish linen weavers.

Nevertheless, the colonial outpost survived and prospered. Its role transformed into one of feeding the penal settlement at Port Jackson, which it managed to do despite shipwrecks, droughts and insect plagues. Later it became a substantial penal settlement in its own right, however, with the discovery of the fertile soils around the Nepean, Hunter and Hawkesbury Rivers, New South Wales no longer needed to rely on Norfolk Island’s produce and the settlement was closed in 1814.

HELL IN THE PACIFIC

Norfolk Island settled back into isolation, but its coastal forests had been felled; its bats extinct; and the winter migration of petrels abandoned forever. The cattle, goats and pigs left by the settlers wreaked further havoc as they foraged for food.

Then in 1825, human voices were heard again. This time, the convicts were heavily chained and closely guarded. These were the worst offenders and re-offenders from every jail in New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land, sent to suffer for their crimes on the worst penal settlement in the colony. They were set to work rebuilding the roads, bridges and store houses destroyed and abandoned over a decade before. The elegant Georgian buildings of heritage listed Kingston are the fruits of their backbreaking labour. Punishments were frequent and harsh.

Conditions on Norfolk Island during this penal settlement became so unbearably brutal and inhumane that reports sent by concerned clergymen and government officers finally resulted in orders to close it. By the end of 1855, most convicts had been removed and the fate of Norfolk Island once again hung in the balance.

A NEW BEGINNING

In 1790, as the first British settlers on Norfolk Island were struggling to survive, the mutineers from the Bounty were making their home on Pitcairn Island. The first five years were brutal as they fought amongst themselves and with the Polynesian men and women who had accompanied them. But by 1800, a new and pious society had emerged and prospered until the population outgrew tiny Pitcairn.

It was this deeply religious people with their own language and legal, education and government systems, who took up residence on Norfolk Island in 1856. Some families were so overwhelmed with homesickness and disappointment that they returned to Pitcairn, but the majority remained.

By 1900, the Pitcairners’ settlement had more than justified Queen Victoria’s decision to grant them a new home on Norfolk Island. Roads were voluntarily maintained on a rotational basis. Orchards, farms and workshops were established; all children attended school and the church remained the spiritual and social hub of the community. Life was hard, but the Norfolk Islanders were hard working and innovative; their rich cultural identity binding the small community.

Whaling was a vital source of income for the Islanders from 1856 onwards, in many ways underpinning their economic survival. Several commercial crops flourished at different times, including: bananas, passionfruit, beans and kentia seeds, but all were subject to the fluctuations of market demand.

Norfolk’s way of life was permanently changed in 1942 when the allied airstrip was constructed to refuel aircraft during the Pacific campaign of World War II. After the war, the airstrip was converted into a commercial airport which ushered in the new industry of tourism.

While many Islanders are still engaged intraditional agriculture and fishing jobs, the major source of employment is tourism. Retail, tours, attractions, charters, entertainment festivals, sporting carnivals, accommodation properties and eateries are all focused on the visitors who come to Norfolk Island in their thousands each year. With four distinct human settlements covering a span of 1200 years, Norfolk Island has many fascinating stories to tell.

Accommodation
Norfolk Island has a wide range of AAA Tourism inspected accommodation, ranging from hotels, apartments, self contained cottages or villas and holiday homes. Norfolk Island accommodation ranges from 3 to 5 star in the various categories. View the Accommodation and Tourism Association (ATA) website.

Churches
These include Church of England, Uniting, Community Church, Jehovah’s Witness, Bahai, Catholic and Seventh Day Adventist. Call into the Visitors Information Centre for service times.

Climate
Subtropical. Average rainfall 1328mm per year. Lovely summer days from 24 degrees but not exceeding 28.4 degrees, nights 19-21 degrees. Idylic days mid-winter, with temperatures ranging from 12 at night to 19-21 degrees during the day.

Clothing
Comfortable and casual day and night. It’s wise to pack a sweater and light nylon jacket, strong shoes for walking and a torch for night outings. Remember a hat and sunscreen.

Communications
A local mobile phone service is available when you purchase a local sim card. Global roaming is available for some of the larger phone carriers. Internet Wi-Fi cards are available for purchase for use at hot spot areas around the island. There are 2 small internet cafes located in the Burnt Pine main centre. The local paper is published every Saturday, Radio Norfolk (89.9fm) can be heard daily, & the island receives Australian digital TV channels.

Currency
Currency used on the island is the Australian dollar. The Commonwealth Bank and Westpac have branches at Burnt Pine. The Commonwealth Bank has an ATM.

Flights
Air New Zealand operate from Sydney every Friday and Monday, Brisbane every Saturday and Tuesday and Auckland every Sunday. Australian Air Holidays operate a direct flight from Melbourne every Monday.

National Parks
Norfolk Island National Park is a wonderful place to see the island’s unique flora and fauna, for bushwalking, bird watching and for taking in the many scenic views of Norfolk and Phillip islands from various vantage points.
Norfolk Island holds important biological significance as its flora and fauna are derived from the chance dispersal of plants and animals over vast distances of ocean.
Many species have evolved into unique, or endemic, forms due to isolation from other populations and having different evolutionary pressures.
The Norfolk Island National Park is an important component of the visitor experience, and while park management aims at providing safety and comfort for people to experience the natural beauty of the island, it also continues in the important work of rehabilitation and restoration of habitats, ecosystems and individual species.

MT PITT
Mt. Pitt stands at 320 Meters above sea level. The lookout at the summit which is accessible by car gives you a 360° view of the whole island. A good spot to stop and enjoy the views. The panorama is something to remember, to the south you can see the outer islands of Phillip and Nepean. Take advantage of the picnic tables at the top to see magic sunsets and sunrises. Mt Pitt is also the starting point for some of the amazing walking tracks in the National Park.

Mt Pitt 360° lookout

MT BATES
Is the highest point of Norfolk Island at 321 metres above sea level. The Summit walk is a short walk from Mt Pitt across to Mt Bates.
The Mount Bates track skirts the top edge of the ridge between Mount Pitt and Mount Bates and continues to the base of Mount Bates from where wooden steps lead to the top. Visitors to Mount Bates are rewarded with breathtaking views over the north-west of the island. Excavations and structures at the top of Mount Bates are relics of a World War II radar station.

PHILLIP ISLAND
Just six kilometres to the south of Norfolk lies Phillip Island. In the right light, the island appears in its striking colours; rich reds and purples, subtle yellows and greys arched like rainbows through the contours of its imposing form. The island is difficult to get to and harder still to climb, but for the thousands of sea birds that regularly visit, Phillip Island is nothing short of an oasis. The island is free from feral predators and is home to a number of rare and endangered plants, all of which are thriving under the protection and management of Parks Australia.

NIT 2015 phillip 03

BIRD WATCHING
From iconic species like the green parrot and the boobook owl, Norfolk Island is home to a fascinating mixture of land, water and seabirds. The island’s isolation means that a high proportion of these birds are found nowhere else in the world.
Please do not feed the birds. Wild birds find their own natural foods like insects, plants and small mammals. Other foods can make them sick.

NIT-2015-birds-04
CAPTAIN COOK MONUMENT

When Captain James Cook landed on Norfolk in 1774 he explored only one segment on the north coast. A monument to Captain James Cook and a scenic lookout have been erected on this northern part of the coast where he landed with his officers – you’ll get a spectacular view of the coastline from here. Access to the lookout is via Duncombe Bay Road. Picnic tables, barbecues and toilet facilities are provided at the scenic headland.The Bridle Track can be accessed down the grassy slope from the monument. The Bridle Track follows the coastline and offers views of the many islets, eventually linking with the Red Stone Link Track which takes you to the Bird Rock lookout. When Captain James Cook landed on Norfolk in 1774 he explored only one segment on the north coast. A monument to Captain James Cook and a scenic lookout have been erected on this northern part of the coast where he landed with his officers – you’ll get a spectacular view of the coastline from here. Access to the lookout is via Duncombe Bay Road. Picnic tables, barbecues and toilet facilities are provided at the scenic headland.
The Bridle Track can be accessed down the grassy slope from the monument. The Bridle Track follows the coastline and offers views of the many islets, eventually linking with the Red Stone Link Track which takes you to the Bird Rock lookout.
When Captain James Cook landed on Norfolk in 1774 he explored only one segment on the north coast. A monument to Captain James Cook and a scenic lookout have been erected on this northern part of the coast where he landed with his officers – you’ll get a spectacular view of the coastline from here. Access to the lookout is via Duncombe Bay Road. Picnic tables, barbecues and toilet facilities are provided at the scenic headland.

The Bridle Track can be accessed down the grassy slope from the monument. The Bridle Track follows the coastline and offers views of the many islets, eventually linking with the Red Stone Link Track which takes you to the Bird Rock lookout.

– See more at: http://www.parksaustralia.gov.au/norfolk/people-place/cook.html#sthash.nXpFMf6R.dpuf
When Captain James Cook landed on Norfolk in 1774 he explored only one segment on the north coast. A monument to Captain James Cook and a scenic lookout have been erected on this northern part of the coast where he landed with his officers – you’ll get a spectacular view of the coastline from here. Access to the lookout is via Duncombe Bay Road. Picnic tables, barbecues and toilet facilities are provided at the scenic headland.

The Bridle Track can be accessed down the grassy slope from the monument. The Bridle Track follows the coastline and offers views of the many islets, eventually linking with the Red Stone Link Track which takes you to the Bird Rock lookout.

– See more at: http://www.parksaustralia.gov.au/norfolk/people-place/cook.html#sthash.nXpFMf6R.dpuf
Captain Cook lookout

BUSH WALKING
The walking trails of Norfolk Island National Park are the perfect way to get some exercise and see Norfolk’s unique landscape. Tracks guide you through lush palm forests and stands of Norfolk Island pine, leading to stunning vistas of the island and the surrounding ocean. Many endemic and endangered species can be spotted by those with a quiet approach and a keen eye. You may even see the rare green parrot. Tracks are well marked by signs and have a range of grades and lengths to suit all fitness levels.

Captain cook track

BOTANICAL GARDENS
The stunning walks through the Botanic Garden provide a fabulous opportunity to experience the diverse flora on Norfolk Island. Suited to a range of fitness levels, there is a walk to suit everyone. The Discovery Centre is also located in the Botanical gardens. There is a viewing deck that provides a stunning view back to Mt Pitt.

Botanical gardens

REPTILES
The Lord Howe Island skink Oligosoma lichenigera and the Lord Howe Island gecko Christinus guentheri are endemic to the Norfolk and Lord Howe Island groups. Due to predation by feral animals neither exist on Norfolk Island but both can be found on Phillip Island.

INSECTS
A number of endemic invertebrates occur including one species of Collembola, 30 moths, 11 booklice, 65 beetles and one particularly impressive centipede which grows up to 150 mm long and 17 mm wide. The centipede Cormocephalus coynei was recorded on Phillip Island by King in 1792, but it was not described until recently. It is restricted to Phillip and Nepean Islands.

World Heritage
The Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area (KAVHA), on Norfolk Island, is of outstanding significance to the nation as a convict settlement spanning the era of transportation to eastern Australia between 1788-1855. It is also significant as the only site in Australia to display evidence of early Polynesian settlement, and the place where the Pitcairn Island descendents of the Bounty mutineers were re-settled in 1856. Norfolk Island’s Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) is one of the 11 sites that make up the Australian Convict Sites inscribed on the World Heritage list in 2010.

Kingston Panorama K
Australian Convict Sites

The property includes a selection of eleven penal sites, among the thousands established by the British Empire on Australian soil in the 18th and 19th centuries. The sites are spread across Australia, from Fremantle in Western Australia to Kingston and Arthur’s Vale on Norfolk Island in the east; and from areas around Sydney in New South Wales in the north, to sites located in Tasmania in the south. Around 166,000 men, women and children were sent to Australia over 80 years between 1787 and 1868, condemned by British justice to transportation to the convict colonies. Each of the sites had a specific purpose, in terms both of punitive imprisonment and of rehabilitation through forced labour to help build the colony. The Australian Convict Sites presents the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts.

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KAVHA RESEARCH CENTRE

The KAVHA Research and Information Centre is located in one of the original, elegantly restored Georgian houses at No. 9 Quality Row, on the beautiful Kingston foreshores. It is located next door to No. 10 Quality Row house museum.

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday, 10.00am to 4.00pm or by appointment on 23009

The KAVHA Research and Information Centre is open to everyone with an interest in the World Heritage listed Kingston and Arthur’s Vale site, its people and its buildings from the past to the present. Resources are available to all visitors whether professional or just curious, and includes, extensive convict records from 1788 to1856, reports, maps and journals from the four periods of Kingston settlement. A reading room with our fascinating reference book collection, a comfortable viewing room for the Our Heritage DVD ,brochures and advice to assist with getting the most out of a visit to Kingston.

Research centre

NORFOLK ISLAND MUSEUMS

The Norfolk Island Museum reveals to you Norfolk’s amazing and multi-layered stories. Famous for its colourful history, the island was first settled in 1788 and later became a convict hellhole. Since 1856 it has been home to the descendants of the Bounty mutineers.

Located in a number of heritage buildings in Kingston, there are four museums, museum and cemetery tours, and the historical play “Trial of the 15”

The four museums are:

PIER STORE – Housing the Pitcairn/ Norfolk stories, including artefacts from the Bounty,Pitcairn Island and Norfolk Island since 1856.

Pier store

SIRIUS MUSEUM- Housing nationally significant artefacts from the Flag Ship of the First Fleet.

Sirius inside2

COMMISSARIAT STORE – Archaeological remains from World Heritage listed KAVHA area on display highlighting our two Penal Settlements.Located under the All Saints Church on Quality Row.

commstore img2

NO.10 QUALITY ROW HOUSE MUSEUM – A Georgian House built for the Foreman of Works and restored to 1844.

THE TRIAL OF THE 15 PLAY
You are an eyewitness to a courtroom drama as fifteen extraordinary characters step on stage to expose Norfolk’s colourful and at times turbulent past.

The testimony of those on trial reveals the story of Norfolk Island – Polynesian visitation, European discovery, convict misery and the arrival of the Pitcairn Islanders. This highly successful play has been running for over ten years to more than 35,000 visitors. After the show enjoy a sherry and a chat with the actors.

When: Every Wednesday at 4.45pm
Trial of the 15 cast

The Norfolk Island Museums also offer a Museum PASS, tag along tours with a guide and Convict cemetery tours. For further information check out the Norfolk Island Museums website.