Holiday Accommodation




Norfolk Island Holiday Luxury Accommodation Contrasts With Captivating Convict History

Today, tourism fueled by Norfolk Island accommodation, outdoor activities, and status as a tax-free haven are the mainstay of this little island. Its rugged terrain and close proximity to Australia explain help explain the magnetic draw. However, there’s more than meets the eye. Norfolk Island invites history buffs as well, with its puzzling past as a penal colony.

British Encounter Norfolk Island

When Captain James Cook found the uninhabited Norfolk Island in 1774, Norfolk Island holiday luxury accommodation and tourism weren’t on anyone’s mind. Instead, Cook immediately recognized its important as a possible source of raw materials like flax, hemp, and timber, bringing some samples back to England with him. Britain needed these materials for shipbuilding, and although some could be found within the British Isles or imported from other territories, Norfolk Island represented a unique opportunity to take them for their own by colonizing the island. However, many other factors went into the final decision to settle the island with prisoners.

Creating a Convict Settlement

Since its discovery, Britain had made its interests in the island clear, yet no real action was taken until 1786. For years, Britain had possessed superior naval forces, which was essential to the protection of the defense of their island states, as well as their colonies. However, in 1786 Russia’s influence was growing, and Catherine the Great decided to cut off Britain’s supply of hemp, challenging the development and maintenance of their ships. This led to a sudden and desperate need to find new sources, and Norfolk along with New Zealand were ripe for the taking. The need for new sources of hemp and flax combined with France’s competing interest in the island led the prime minister to quickly authorize the settlement of Norfolk Island by convicts, which arrived in 1788.

A Harsh Life

In the 19th century, instead of the characteristic Norfolk Island holiday luxury accommodation and tourists basking in the rugged natural wonders, prisoners were subject to poor housing and the worst conditions. After the initial settlement, the government made it a goal to send the worst criminals to this small, isolated place as a form of extreme punishment. The prisoners were forced to work long hours in harsh conditions, constantly wore chains, suffered the elements, and were regularly beaten and tortured. It wasn’t until 1855 that the island was cleared of prisoners to be settled more humanely by the Pitcairn Islanders.

Although Norfolk Island holiday luxury accommodation is what many associate with the island, remnants of the convict settlement can still be seen at Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area (KAVHA), a National Heritage site. Although this history is dark, it is worth learning about and preserving for future generations, and provides a much more honest and well-rounded history to holiday travelers.