Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Our family visit to Norfolk Island in 2018


Several years ago I discovered that our family had a First Fleeter who was transported from Portsmouth, England on the "Scarborough", arriving at Port Jackson on 26 January 1788.  He was transferred to Norfolk Island in 1790 on "HMS Sirius". As I did my research I soon discovered that in fact there were another five male convicts that arrived on the first fleet, went to Norfolk Island, married female convicts on the island and guess what, they had children who have inter-married.  My late husband Peter was six generations from James Morrisby and his wife Ann (Lavender) Brooks.  More about our convicts and their families in further posts.

In March 2018, I along with my three children and their spouses took a week out to visit Norfolk Island.  We were keen to enjoy some quality family time together, enjoy the beauty of the island and to appreciate and walk in the footsteps of our ancestor(s).  I had done lots of research and went well prepared, knowing what their crime was, who married who and the names of their children and subsequent families.  More about them later.

Joy with Darren & Fiona, Adrian & Donna, Robyn & Andrew as we flew Melbourne to Sydney and  another two hour flight onto Norfolk Island. Air New Zealand flies Sydney to Norfolk Island every Monday & Friday, and flies from Brisbane every Saturday and Tuesday. 

Arriving Norfolk Island.

Norfolk Island Airport.

Australia in relation to Norfolk Island and Pitcairn Islands.

Tourist map of Norfolk Island.

The first half day we enjoyed a complementary half day tour of the island. This was very beneficial as it gave us an overview of what to see and we soon realised just how small the island really was.  We headed up the west coast to St. Barnabas Chapel and Puppy's Point (where they have an Island Fish Fry activity at night for those who wish to partake). We enjoyed devonshire tea while there. Next we went to Cascade along the top of the island,then took in the views from Mount Pitt.  On the south side of the island Queen Elizabeth Lookout gave us a panorama of Kingston where the historic World Heritage buildings are and we saw a cargo ship being unloaded.  We drove past the old Morton Bay Fig trees opposite Hundred Acres and back into Burnt Pine, the township of Norfolk Island for coffee at the Farmers Market. 

St Barnabas Chapel.  (We returned there for the Easter Sunday service). The Chapel was dedicated to the memory of  the late Bishop Patteson murdered by natives in 1871.  Built 1880 for the Melanesian Mission composed of scholars from many different groups of islands in the Melanesian Archipelago.  The Chapel was built from stone taken from the ruins of the New Gaol.  Four windows in the apse depict the four Evangelists, the seats are carved and inlaid with Christian symbols in mother-of-pearl.
Rear view of St Barnabas Chapel.  Under a massive fig tree was a historic memorial garden.

Interior view of the Chapel with massive beams in the ceiling built to resemble the upside down hull of a ship.

The boys enjoyed the view from Mount Pitt.  In the distance was Phillip Island and Nepean Island. The airstrip runs across the horizon. 

Family at Mount Pitt.

View of Kingston, a World Heritage site, from Queen Elizabeth Lookout. Georgian homes in the foreground and historic Kingston in the background. Phillip Island and Nepean Island always demanding our visual attention.

View of Historic Kingston from Queen Elizabeth Lookout- Old Military Barracks & Officers Quarters built 1829-1834. The New Military Barracks were built 1836.

Donna, Fiona, Joy and Robyn at Kingston Pier. Behind us is the Stone dedicated to the arrival of Lieutenant Philip King  when he took possession of the island on 6 March 1788.

A cargo ship was unloading which was a welcome sight for locals and visitors.  Because of the reef, everything has to be craned from the ship into a small boat which comes to the pier to be off loaded by crane.  We had been warned that supplies were often "wanting", resulting in long waiting times for mechanical & building supplies, household goods and food supplies.  We took our full weight allowance of packaged food items as we were self catering, and we were so glad we did.
Flagstaff Hill, adjacent to the Pier - where James Dodding & Elizabeth Thackery had their land.

We were looking forward to purchasing our fruit and vegetables for the week but this was all that was available - bananas, lemons, figs and some preserves at the Farmers Market.

Foodland supermarket shelves were nearly empty. Just as well we took lots of packaged food items in our luggage.

Our accommodation

We stayed in a 4 bedroom house at Cumberland Resort & Spa in Taylors Road, Burnt Pine, just walking distance to the shops.  Quite incredibly, we were staying on the land James Morrisby farmed 1790-1808.

We self catered so enjoyed good home cooking.

Darren found time to relax, read and sleep.

Donna won the Easter egg hunt.

Adrian & Donna relaxing.

Robyn observing the bunch of bananas in the garden.
Joy and Darren working on family history.

Cumberland Resort in Taylors Road, Burnt Pine was the creme roof at the end of the road on right hand side.

Looking the other way along Taylors Road, Burnt Pine - the main street.

Petrol Station in Taylors Road, Burnt Pine.

Old pump at Service Station.

The Village Place, Burnt Pine.

Some sights from our week on Norfolk Island

Puppy's Point where they have the Island Fish Fry events.

Puppy's Point on Anson Bay Road.

Selwyn Reserve on Anson Bay Road. Cows roam free all over the island, in fact, they have right of way on the roads.

Darren was fascinated with the cows.

Anson Bay.

Adrian and Donna at Anson Bay Road honesty produce stall.

Captain James Cook was the first known European to discover Norfolk Island. He discovered this uninhabited paradise in 1774 during his second voyage around the world aboard HMS Resolution. He named the Island Norfolk after the Duchess of Norfolk, wife of Edward Howard, 9th Duke of Norfolk. The Duchess of Norfolk had already passed away but as Captain James Cook had set out from England in 1772 he had not heard of her death in 1773.

Captain Cook first came ashore on Norfolk Island on 11th October 1774 and was struck by the island's rugged beauty and reported that the flax and giant pines grew abundantly here on the Island. He thought the pines would be suitable for masts of large ships and sail cloth and cordage could be made from the flax. Cook took samples back to the United Kingdom to show their potential uses but sadly he was mistaken. Even though the Island was uninhabited at the time of discovery by Captain James Cook, evidence of previous occupation by Polynesians has since been found. Captain James Cook sailed on and the Island was to remain uninhabited for a further 14 years.

Captain Cook Monument. Captain James Cook discovered the island in 1774.  We discovered Norfolk Island in 2018!

Robyn and Andrew at Norfolk's Northern Inlets next to Captain Cook's Monument.

Moo-oo Stone from Captain Cook's Monument.

Looking west to Dunscombe Bay from Captain Cook's Monument.

Cascade Reserve.

Cockpit waterfall at Cascade.

Joy with Darren, Adrian & Robyn at Daniel Stanfield's land (one of our ancestors).

Darren & Fiona on Daniel Stanfield's land.

Family on Daniel Stanfield's land.

Darren & Adrian on Daniel Stanfield's land.

Ball Bay.

Morning tea at Ball Bay.

Morton Bay Figs in Hundred Acres.

Morton Bay Fig in Hundred Acres.

Darren & Fiona in Hundred Acres.

Adrian & Donna in Hundred Acres.

Hundred Acres through to Rocky Point Reserve.

Rocky Point Reserve.

Mother mutton bird feeding her young.  Note the fish in the mother's beak.

Morton Bay Figs opposite Hundred Acres.

Morton Bay Figs opposite Hundred Acres. Colleen McCullogh had written about her First Fleet convict ancestor who arrived on Norfolk Island October 1788 in "Morgan's Run". Richard Morgan's land was behind the trees on the right.

Morton Bay Figs opposite Hundred Acres.

Memorial Garden at St Barnabas Chapel.

Children's address Easter Sunday at St.Barnabas Chapel.

Local Protest on Norfolk Island

The Norfolk Island People are the descendants of the original settlers from Pitcairn Island. The mutiny, the relocation to Norfolk Island and the gift of Norfolk Island to the Pitcairners by Queen Victoria are important foundational stories. 
In December 2014, Australia's newly appointed representative on Norfolk Island misled the Federal Minister and the Australian Parliament.
On 8th May 2015 at an Island-wide referendum conducted under Norfolk Island statute, the Norfolk Island people voted overwhelmingly in support of their legal right to determine their own political status and their economic, social and cultural development. 
On 18th May 2015 the Australian Parliament ignoring the referendum results and remonstrance motion delivered to it by the Norfolk Island Parliament, passed a law to abolish Norfolk Island's Parliament and replaced it with an undemocratic colonial administration managed from Canberra.
Despite the Australian Government's attempt to justify their actions on Norfolk Island, what cannot be justified was the decision to remove the island's Parliament, strip the Norfolk Island people of their democratic rights, or the decision to impose a new governance model on Norfolk Island denying its people an ability to vote in the laws that affect their lives.
The solution? Australia and Norfolk Island enter into genuine negotiations regarding a democratic governance model for Norfolk Island that is consistent with International Law and the rights of the Norfolk Island people.

Hands Up For Democracy - an initiative of the Norfolk Islanders.

Hands up for Democracy - a silent protest.

There was a Protest at Old Barracks in Quality Row, Kingston.

Bounty Day

Bounty Day or Anniversary Day is celebrated every 8th June, to mark the arrival of the 194 Pitcairn Islanders on Norfolk Island. The Pitcairners had been searching for a new home as Pitcairn Island was too small to sustain their ever-growing population.  Their leader, George Hunn Nobbs, was at last successful in engaging the support of the London Missionary Society who petitioned Queen Victoria on the Pitcairners behalf.  Her Majesty was so impressed with the reports of the piety of this unique society that had grown from such violent and unsavoury origins, that she granted them the soon-to-be vacated Norfolk Island. The NSW penal settlement that had been in operation there was to close in early 1856, so the island would be unoccupied, but well established with substantial buildings, livestock, gardens, mills, kilns and granaries.

When the Pitcairners arrived in the Morayshire, in 1856, they had been at sea for a month and many were almost exhausted with sea-sickness.  It was a cold, wet day and everything was foreign and strange to these simple folk. However, despite some families inability to settle, the majority grew to love their new island home and continued the customs and traditions of their old home on Norfolk.

Each year, descendants of those first Norfolk Islanders gather on Kingston Pier in period costume to re-enact the landing of their forefathers and foremothers. They proceed to the Cenotaph where the national anthem, God Save the Queen is sung and wreaths are laid to honour those Islanders who lost their lives in each major war since the Boer War.

From there, the throng, which consists of hundreds of people of all ages, makes its way to the cemetery where the old Island hymns are sung and children lay flowers on the graves of their family members. After the John Adams prayer is recited, the procession crosses the golf course to Government House where the Administrator and his wife serve tea and judge the best dressed family. Then it's time to go to the compound for a leisurely picnic, but the children look forward to the exit from Government House all year as it means rolling down the long green hill in all their Bounty Day finery! 

Inside the compound, trestle tables groan with food which has been prepared by the families for days beforehand. There is every conceivable meat and vegetable dish, including the Island favourites green banana fritters and mada, pilahai, coconut bread, soda bread, beetroot in cream, Tahitian fish and corn fritters. This is followed by sweets which always feature a range of pies coconut, lemon, orange, passionfruit, porpieh, and mulberry as well as trifle, fruit salad, chocolate pudding and much more.

Following the singing of the grace, it's time to tuck in and lunch usually continues for several hours, until the brave few have a hit of cricket on the oval. There is just enough time to pack up and head back home for a quick nap, shower and change for the Bounty Ball which is held in Rawson Hall. Once again, all members of the family are involved with the littlies decked out in their ball gowns and tuxedos to dance the night away with their parents.

Bounty Day is Norfolk’s special day, and to some it is just as important as Christmas Day. It is a day of peace, goodwill and fellowship where everyone is full of the generosity that is born of gratitude for a special home in a world that so often closes its doors to those in need. 

Robyn and Joy at "The Bounty" Monument in Burnt Pine.

Persons who landed on Norfolk Island from Pitcairn Island June 8 1856.

Kingston Historical Site.

The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area (KAVHA) is a World Heritage site located on Norfolk Island. One of Australia’s most interesting and important heritage sites, KAVHA is a living showcase of Polynesian, convict and Pitcairn Islander history.  The site is a traditional focal point for the Norfolk Island community. As a living heritage site, KAVHA continues to contribute to the life, identity and culture of the Norfolk Island community.

KAVHA is recognised for being among the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts. It is one of eleven sites that make up the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property. The site is well known for its picturesque character, outstanding Georgian buildings and evocative ruins. The only way to truly experience this rich, vibrant part of world history is to see it for yourself. The site includes Commonwealth crown land, freehold land owned by the Norfolk Island Regional Council, and privately managed freehold and leasehold lands.

Entry to the KAVHA site is free. Individual entry fees to the Norfolk Island Museum and Research Centre located on site apply.

As a place of secondary punishment, KAVHA developed a reputation as one of the harshest and cruellest of Australia's penal settlements. It was, however, also a place where humanising experiments in penal reform were conducted.

KAVHA is located on the southern side of Norfolk Island, which lies 1,600 kilometres to the east-north-east of Sydney. Set on the Kingston coastal plain and bounded by hills, it comprises a large group of buildings from the convict era, some of which have been modified during the Pitcairn period (from 1856 to the present), substantial ruins and standing structures, archaeological remains, landform and landscape elements. KAVHA's aesthetic qualities have been recognised since the earliest days of the first settlement. It is outstanding for its picturesque setting, historic associations, part ruinous configuration and subsequent lack of development.

Early Polynesian presence.
Europeans were not the first people to inhabit Norfolk Island. Stone tools have been found at both Emily and Slaughter bays within KAVHA. Archaeological investigations have revealed evidence of landscape modifications in the Emily Bay area including artefact assemblages and structural remains that have been interpreted as a rudimentary marae, a religious structure characteristic of East Polynesian culture. Radiocarbon dating indicates Polynesian settlement of the area occurred between AD 1200 and AD 1600.

First European settlement.
Discovered by Captain James Cook RN in 1774, Norfolk Island was settled on 6 March 1788, six weeks after the First Fleet landed in Sydney. Cook reported the island had rich soils, tall pines suitable for ships masts and spars, and native flax that could be used for making canvas. Governor Philip had instructions to settle and secure the island as soon as possible to secure its potential naval supplies.

First settlement. 
Arriving on the Supply, Lieutenant Philip Gidley King RN and a party of nine male and six female convicts and seven staff established a settlement named Kingston. Crops were sown in the adjoining valley, Arthurs Vale, and, unlike the experience in Sydney, the Kingston crops flourished. To relieve the food pressures in the infant colony of New South Wales, Governor Philip relocated around one-third Sydney's population to Kingston.

Extensive clearing followed and both convicts and free settlers farmed small holdings of land. The rising land behind Kingston was cleared for surveillance and to ensure there was no cover for escaping convicts. The first settlement's population peaked at 1156 in May 1792. By 1804 the free settlers on the island significantly outnumbered the convicts who represented 23 percent of the total population of 1084. On its abandonment in 1814 the settlement's buildings were destroyed.

Second settlement.
In response to the report by Commissioner Bigge (1822-23) on the effectiveness of transportation, the Colonial Secretary Lord Bathurst instructed Governor Brisbane in 1824 to re-occupy the island as a 'great hulk or penitentiary' to provide secondary punishment. Secondary punishment was designed to revive the fear of transportation and deter crime in Britain and the colonies, and was a sentence applied to transported convicts who re-offended in the colony.

Norfolk Island was re-occupied on 6 June 1825 by Captain Turton as commandant, with a party of 50 soldiers, 57 convicts, six women and six children. The settlement was again located around Kingston and the remains of some first settlement buildings were rebuilt, old agricultural areas rehabilitated and new areas cleared. But it was to be of an entirely different character to the first settlement. The second settlement on Norfolk Island was designed to be the extreme in convict degradation and the came to stand for worst of the transportation system.

KAVHA's major buildings include:
1829 Government House, one of the earliest and most intact remaining government house buildings in Australia, with its commanding views of the settlement.
Old Military Barracks and officers quarters constructed between 1826-1832 which are surrounded by high walls giving it an appearance of a military fortress.
New Military Barracks, commenced in 1836 which follows a similar fortress-like design.
Commissariat Store, dating from 1835 which is the finest remaining colonial (pre 1850) military commissariat store in Australia.
Elegant Quality Row houses that provided quarters for military and civil officers. To optimise surveillance, the military complexes are elevated in order to oversight the convict precinct located closer to the water and at a lower elevation.

Also to be found at KAVHA are the archaeological remains of the two convict gaols, and the perimeter walls and archaeological remains of the prisoners' barracks (1828-48) with the Protestant chapel. These show the development of penal philosophies during the period of the settlements operation, with the original gaol built for barrack accommodation while the remains of the new prison and its perimeter walls (1836-40, 1845-57) provides a rare representation of a radial design.

Other archaeological remains include the blacksmith's shop (1846), lumber yard, water mill, the crankmill (1827-38), the remains of the only known human powered crankmill built in Australia before 1850, the salt house (1847), the windmill base (1842-43), lime kilns; the landing pier (1839-47) and sea wall, two of the earliest remaining large scale engineering works in Australia. The role of religion in reform is evident in the Protestant and Catholic clergyman's quarters.

Hell on earth.
Convicts worked from sunrise to sunset. Agricultural work was done with hoes and spades, and no ploughs or working cattle were used. Convict accommodation was cramped and unsanitary and this, combined with their poor diet of one meal every 48 hours, resulted in poor health and many deaths. The harshness and degradation of the treatment metered out to the convicts was intended to break them. Floggings were common, even for trivial offences, and sentences could be extended.

The worst of the convict population from both New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land were sent to Norfolk Island; men who had become so brutalised by the system that ever increasing levels of punishment only served to make them more recalcitrant. The prospect of punishment by death was no deterrent. The ruthless men charged with running Norfolk Island and controlling its convict population were themselves part of a brutal system.

A number of the commandants, including Captain James Morisset, Major Joseph Childs and John Price, were particularly cruel. Mutinies and uprisings were not uncommon and invariably led to floggings and hangings. It was during Morisset's period as commandant (1829-34), which was noted for his extensive use of the lash, that Norfolk Island became renowned as 'hell on earth' and by 1833 the island's fearsome reputation was well known in Britain.

A new prison philosophy.
Only one commandant of Norfolk Island, Alexander Maconochie, brought a humanising regime of reform to the second settlement period through four of its 30 years. He introduced the Merits System of Penal Discipline, which worked on the principle that the prisoner could secure freedom if they were industrious and well behaved. For a number of reasons, including the fact that his superiors disapproved of his reformist actions, his reforms failed. Under Maconochie's humanitarian influence the conditions for prisoners had improved. They rapidly deteriorated, however, under the next commandant, Major Joseph Childs.

The final years.
The latter stages of the second settlement saw prisoners arriving direct from Britain to serve the first stage of their punishment under the new probation system introduced in 1843. The severity of the place continued and in his report to the British Parliament in 1847, Catholic Bishop Robert Wilson detailed the appalling conditions on Norfolk Island. His report helped bring an end to the island's use as a penal settlement. It was gradually closed between 1847 and 1855 with some convicts having been released on tickets of leave, while others were taken to Port Arthur where they served out their sentences. An Order in Council made on 29 December 1853, repealed all previous orders making Norfolk Island a penal settlement. A small party remained on the island to care for the farms and livestock and to handover to the incoming settlers from Pitcairn Island, who constituted the third settlement phase of the island's history.

Third settlement.
As the Pitcairn Island descendants of the Bounty mutineers had outgrown their island home, the British government chose to resettle them on Norfolk Island. The whole Pitcairn community landed at Kingston Pier on 8 June 1856.

Their descendents, who today comprise nearly a third of Norfolk Island's population, still speak the Pitcairn language. For them KAVHA is a place of special significance because it has been continually and actively used since their arrival as a place of residence, work, worship and recreation. KAVHA is uncommon as a place where a distinctive Polynesian/European community has lived and practised their cultural traditions for over 150 years.

I acknowledge that much of this information came from info@museums.gov.nf


We bought a Museum pass at Royal Engineer's Office.  This gave us access at any time to  Pier Store Museum, Commissariat Store, HMS Sirius Museum and No.10 Quality Row - House Museum and also included a guided tour of each museum.  Then there is an opportunity at anytime to wander around the historic Kingston area, the gaol ruins, and the cemetery.

Royal Engineer's Office in Pier Street, Kingston.

Pier Store Museum

Located at the end of the Pier Street near Kingston Pier.

This museum displays the current, or Third Settlement of people on Norfolk Island - the descendants of the Bounty mutineers.  Downstairs the story begins with the 1789 mutiny om the Bounty and discovery of Pitcairn island by the mutineers.  Life on Pitcairn and the eventual resettlement to Norfolk in 1856 is covered.  A listening post has fascinating recordings of the Norfolk Language.  Objects include those from the Bounty (a canon, kettle and ironstone platter) and Pitcairn Island (Codex of Laws, wooden carvings and Pitcairn Bibles).

Upstairs the displays continue to highlight aspects of Norfolk's history and culture such as Anniversary (or Bounty Day), Melanesian Mission, religion, domestic life, industry and agriculture, whaling, tourism and education.  Artifacts on display include historical weavings, items from the Melanesian Mission and whaling implements.

The Pier Store was originally known as The Beach Store and was built in 1825 as a Commissariat (a Government or Military store).  Located at the end of Kingston Pier, it was the most efficient and suitable place to unload goods to.  After a tsunami hit the building in 1834 it was converted to a mill where corn was ground by use of handmills.  In 1841 the upper story became a guard room and the lower continued to be used as a store.  After the arrival of the Pitcairners in 1856 the lower floor became a customs shed and the upper storey was also used as a coffin room.  A complete renovation of the building began in 1977 and it was then used as a store for lighterage gear, old crankmill machinery and pallets of beer.  In 1988 the building became available for us by the Norfolk Island Museum.

Robyn and Andrew outside Pier Store Museum at Kingston.

The Bounty model at Pier Store Museum.

Cannon from The Bounty.

Commissariat Store

Located on the corner of Middlegate Road and Quality Row, in the lower level of All Saints Church.

The exhibitions here begin with the story of archaeological digs in the KAVHA area together with the islands fauna, flora and geology.  The very first inhabitants on the island were the Polynesians and items including hearthstones and adzes recovered during digs in the area behind Emily Bay, help to tell the intriguing story of their time on the island.  However the main displays here are on the First and Second Settlements as they bring Norfolk's convict past alive.  Objects include glass beads and ceramic pieces from the First Settlement and whips, leg irons and crankwheels from the  cruel Second Settlement.  The extensive building program of the Second Settlement is covered with the many stone, timber and metal objects.  An 8 metre photographic montage of the Kingston area taken in 1867 really allow an appreciation of the extent of the buildings, barracks and gaol area that existed.  Finally, the ceramics exhibition is a magnificent display covering an extensive range of makers, styles and production types.

When the Pier Store was flooded in 1834 Commandant Anderson decided to build a new Commissariat away from the waterfront.  The Commissariat took only six months to build and was opened in 1835.  It consisted of three floors and a basement.  The first floor contained a glass partitioned office, a meal room, office and store.  The second an engineer store, grain store and office.  The third floor was used solely for the storage of grain.  The basement originally housed the liquor and general store which in 1845 was converted to an issue room.  The front steps were constructed after the main building masonry had been completed and are unusually positioned as they cover a part of two of the basement windows.  After the Pitcairners arrival in 1856 the basement continued to be used for a store.  In 1874 the main or lower floor ceiled was removed to create a double story space for All Saints Church.  The basement level was opened as a Museum in the 1990s.

Commissariat Store with All Saints Church above.

Commissariat Store with All Saints Church above.

Exhibits in Commissariat Store Museum.

Exhibits in Commissariat Store Museum.

All Saints Church

Interior of All Saints Church over Commissiart Store. Converted to a Church after 1874.

Inside All Saints Church at Kingston.

HMS Sirius Museum

Located on the corner of the Compound, on Bounty Street in the former Protestant Chapel.

This Museum is dedicated to the HMS Sirius, flagship of the First Fleet and wrecked on Norfolk Island on 19 March 1790.  The objects you will see include a one tonne anchor, carronades, cannonballs and delicate pieces from the Officers Quarters.  Over 6000 items have been recovered from the wreck site, which lies about 100 metres from shore on Slaughter Bay reef.  The reasons why the Sirius was at Norfolk Island and the circumstances of the wrecking are fully explored together with the words of eye-witness accounts.  A 20 minute video "Search for the Sirius" tells the fascinating story of the recovery of the objects during the 1980s.

The journey of the First Fleet is celebrated in this museum.  A touch screen computer contains biographies of all who landed at Botany Bay in 1788 and a unique First Fleet Wall provided the opportunity to view the names of all those who made the journey.  Descendants can purchase and have mounted on the Wall a timber disc engraved with their ancestor's name and also sign a "Descendant's Book" containing a page for each First Fleeter.

The building is known as the former Protestant Chapel as it was built in 1840 as a chapel for the convicts in the Second Settlement during the time of the reformist Commandant, Alexander McConochie.  After the close of the settlement it fell into disrepair by the 1870s.  It was substantially rebuilt in the 1890s and used once again as a Church.  By the 1940s it had again fallen into ruin and remained so until re-built as a Youth Centre in 1968.  In 1985 modifications were made and it became a Maritime Museum for the Norfolk Island Museum and continued with this use till 2010 when it was then used as a theatre.  The HMS Sirius Museum was opened in January 2013.

Joy at HMS Sirius Museum

Inside HMS Sirius Museum.

Cannon balls from HMS Sirius.

Cannon from HMS Sirius.

Inside HMS Sirius Museum.

First Fleet Wall. We found James Morrisby, Edward Garth, Jacob Bellett, Edward Kimberly, Daniel Stanfield, Thomas Kidner, James Dodding, Samuel King, Richard Morgan, all my convicts of interest.

HMS Sirius and First Fleet Wall.

Melancoly loss of HMS Sirius 1790.

No.10 Quality Row - House Museum at Kingston

Located on Quality Row beside the Old Military Barracks.

When this house was built in 1844 it was the height of the brutal Second Settlement.  It has been restored to the period of its first inhabitant Thomas Seller, Foreman of the Works.  Period furnishings show the house as it would have been for a gentleman living there with just his manservant, as Seller did.  Ceramics and other items that were recovered from archaological digs in the privies are displayed, providing a unique opportunity to connect these objects with previous inhabitants.  A display in the annex on the renovations and other inhabitants of the house, highlights the story of Isaac Christian and Miriam Young who together with their 15 children lived in the house for 34 years from 1856.  The grounds present a beautiful colonial period garden including a Common Red Hibiscus over 200 years old.

No.10 Military Row (as it was then called) was beautifully restored to this period in the 1980s.  From 1856 till 1890 Isaac Christian and Miriam Young lived in the house, until they handed it over to the Church of England for use by their Chaplains.  In 1926 Ernest Stephenson, Registrar and Collector of Customs lived there.  The house then became the residence of the Official Secretary's to the Administrator, and included local Charles Potts Buffett.  From 1960 until 1984 it was home to Police Sergeants on the island and in 1985 visiting System Analyst Phil Munnings and his family lived there.  It was then restored and open as a House Museum in 1985.

No.10 Quality Row - House Museum.

200 year old Hibiscus tree.
200 year old Hibiscus tree.

Joy visiting No.10 Quality Row - the House Museum.






No.9 Quality Row - Research Centre at Kingston

The Research Centre at No.9 Quality Row, Kingston
There is opportunity to do some research here. An Entry fee and hourly fee for research & help.

Gaol Ruins from the Second Settlement

The girls visit the New Gaol 1836-1856.

Ruins of the New Gaol 1836-1856.
Not much room in this cell.

Walking out of the gaol to see where HMS Sirius was shipwrecked.

Monument to the wreck of HMS Sirius. Shipwrecked 19 March 1790.  Our James Morrisby arrived on Norfolk Island on HMS Sirius.

Monument to the wreck of HMS Sirius 19 March 1790.
Phillip Island from Kingston.

Hospital ruins & gaol compound 1836-1856.


On 6 March 1788 Lieutenant Philip Gidley King hoisted the English colours and took possession of the island for His Majesty King George 111. The entire settlement was assembled - 22 persons made up of 7 freeman, 9 male convicts and 6 female convicts. These included our ancestors Edward Garth and Susan Gough.  This Stone is located near the Pier.

Site of the First Government House, built in 1792.

Government House today.

Cemetery at Kingston

Cemetery at Kingston.

Cemetery at Kingston.  None of our ancestors were buried here as they were part of the First Settlement (1788-1808) and relocated to Van Diemen's Land.  

Emily Bay at Kingston 

Darren thought a swim at Emily Bay was so inviting.

Donna at Emily Bay with the Lone Pine in the back ground.

Emily Bay.

Fiona, Donna & Adrian at Emily Bay.

Coral at Emily Bay.
Sea slug at Emily Bay.

Emily Bay with the tide out.

Salthouse at Emily Bay.

Looking at Kingston and Emily Bay from the Lone Pine.

Lone Pine, Nepean Island and Phillip Island from Emily Bay.

Lone Pine was noted in Captain Cook's logbook in 1774.  It is believed to be about 600 years old.

I love Captain Cook's Norfolk Pine.

James & Ann Morrisby's land

The family walking on James & Ann Morrisby's land - Parcel 57, 20 acres.

Darren on James Morrisby's land Parcel No.57, looking toward Parcel 61, 24 acres.  Edward Kimberly's land was where the orange roofed house is now. Parcel No.60, 12 acres and further in the distance 60 acres, Parcel No.67.

Gigantic Morton Bay Figs dwarf Joy on James & Ann Morrisby's land  - Parcel No.57, 20 acres.

Morton Bay Figs on James & Ann Morrisby's land - Parcel No.57, 20 acres.

Sadly, our week on Norfolk Island had to come to an end.  We successfully balanced it with relaxation, quality family time and family history.

Joy feeling melancholy about leaving.

Our 3 red bags on top, ready for loading our Air New Zealand flight to Sydney.

Goodbye Norfolk Island.

Goodbye Norfolk Island.

Goodbye Norfolk Island.

Should you have any comments or corrections, please contact the author of this blog, Joy Olney via email - joyolney@gmail.com

Can I suggest you take a further look at my other posts as it has been quite intriguing how several First Fleeter convicts married female convicts, reared their families on Norfolk Island and went to Van Diemen's Land.  A small community meant that many of them became related by marriages in the next generation or two. 

Our family visit to Norfolk Island in 2018

http://norfolkislandfirstfleetersandfamilies.blogspot.com.au Several years ago I discovered that our family had a First Fleeter who was...