Norfolk Island is a three million year old volcanic post lying in the South Pacific Ocean, to east of the Australian mainland between New Zealand and Australia. The Norfolk Island History started when it was colonised by Great Britain along with the settlement of Australia in 1788. It served as a penal until 1855, except for the years between 1814 and 1825, during which time it lay abandoned. In 1856 the island received its first civilian residents, who were moved there from the second largest of Pitcairn Islands. These Pitcaim Islanders were descendants of Tahitian women with mutineers of HMS and Fletcher Christian. The Pitcairn Island was not large enough to support its 200 residents, and Queen Victoria allowed them to be resettled to Norfolk Island. Even today 35% of the locals are descendants of the mutineers. In 1901, when the Commonwealth of Australia was established, Norfolk Island was placed under it and was administered as an external territory.
During World War II the island served as a key airbase and refuelling station between New Zealand and Australia, The Island was thought to be too remote to be attacked during the war. In 1979, Norfolk was given the right to self-govern by Australia. The islanders elect their government to run most of their affairs, except policing, education and defence. They are also not represented in the Commonwealth Parliament of Australia. This model of governance is in operation even now. Norfolk is Australia’s tax free haven.
Off the southern coast of Norfolk Island are the uninhibited islands of Nepean Island and Phillip Island. Nepean Island is situated about one kilometre from Norfolk Island. It is a tiny coral islet offering thousands of seabirds a safe haven while Phillip Island is about six kilometres away and is nothing more than a volcanic mass.
Not surprisingly the Norfolk Island cuisine is based on seafood that is typically caught fresh. The local trumpeter is especially favoured as a delicacy. Local specialties include traditional Polynesian dishes. To get the true flavor of these dishes, it is best to forego the restaurants and try them at the homes of the islanders. A large variety of other foods are also available including Chinese, Italian and Indian.
The climate of Norfolk is sub-tropical. The surrounding sea moderates the temperatures so that it is never very hot and hardly ever is there a need for anything more than a medium weight pullover. While the average rainfall is 1328 mm, sometimes accompanied by storms, it usually falls in the night.
Capital City: Kingston
Government: Parliamentary Democracy/Monarchy
Languages: English (official), and local Polynesian dialect
Official Currency: Australian Dollar
Religions: Anglican, Catholic, others
Land Area: 34.6 sq km (13.3 sq miles)
Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)
Calling Code: +672