Historic landing commemorated
January 31, 2006
If you’re into history, there’s probably no country in the world where they pack in more memoirs per square metre than Norfolk Island.
And that makes March 6 a great time to visit the sub-tropical South Pacific island just over an hour from Auckland.
Foundation Day commemorates the arrival in Norfolk Is. of its first 22 settlers – seven freemen and 15 convicts – under the command of Lieutenant Philip Gidley King.
Only days after the founding of Sydney with the arrival of the First (British) Fleet in Botany Bay, Gidley King was despatched to Norfolk in H.M. Brig Supply. His mission: to locate the bounteous island visited and named by Captain Cook and to secure it for Britain.
Supply’s landing at Norfolk Is. is commemorated in the March 6 celebrations with a full re-enactment of the arrival at what was then only the second British Settlement in the Pacific.
“This is really a very colourful, historic and quite dramatic pageant,” says Tania Anderson of Norfolk Island Tourism. “Actors dressed in full period costume make for a colourful spectacle as they come ashore in a long boat complete with all the paraphernalia needed to settle a new country – livestock, provisions and building materials included.”
The tableau continues with the settlers erecting a traditional Bell tent, hoisting a flag and toasting the King. Locals get with the mood by dressing for the era and after the re-enactment there is music, dancing and a traditional lunch.
Discovering Norfolk Is. is a favourite past-time of visitors – with its convict and mutineer history there is plenty to do and see. Combine that with the island’s sesquicentenary (150 years) celebrations in 2006 and you have a tempting menu for history buffs.
The Travel Centre in Norfolk Island is offering seven night travel packages from NZ$907 per person to coincide with Foundation day celebrations. The packages include seven nights’ accommodation and rental car hire as well as a number of additional activities.
There are three different packages available. For details call toll-free 0800 00 88 10, email Debbie@travelcentre.nf or visit www.travelcentre.nf.
About Norfolk Island: Discovered by Captain Cook in 1774, Norfolk Island was first settled as a British penal colony in 1788 through to 1856. On June 8, 1856, the island was re-inhabited by a community from Pitcairn Island, descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions.
Known today as Norfolk Islanders, they form a majority of the 1,800 resident population. Norfolk Island is renowned for its spectacular coastal scenery, colourful history, sporting and cultural activities, convict heritage and tax-free shopping.