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Pitcairn Islands Study Center

Norfolk Island

Description of Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island is situated at 29 degrees South, 168 degrees East, 3,300 miles west of Pitcairn, 930 miles north-east of Sydney, and 630 miles north-west of Auckland. It has a land area of thirteen and a half square miles and a circumference of twenty miles. Norfolk is a rolling, pine-clad island, rather low-laying except for two peaks which rise to somewhat over one thousand feet. On the south coast is the only town, Kingston.

Norfolk was discovered by Captain Cook on October 10, 1774, on his second voyage to the South Pacific. From 1788 to 1856 it was used by the British as a penal colony.

Norfolk is important in the history of Pitcairn as the destination for the second migration of the whole population of the island in 1865.

In 1913 Norfolk became an Australian territory. Today about 40 per cent of the close to 2,200 inhabitants on Norfolk are descendents of the Bounty mutineers. The island gets about 20,000 visitors a year, mostly from Australia but also from new Zealand.

On Norfolk Island, "Bounty Day" is celebrated on June 8, the anniversary of the arrival of the population from Pitcairn.

Text from Mutiny and Romance in the South Seas: A Companion to the Bounty Adventure by Sven Wahlroos. Used by permission. See Book Recommendations for more information about this book.

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