Somewhere in the southwestern Pacific, between New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia, is a small picturesque Norfolk Island.
A bit of history
This island was discovered by the famous seafarer Captain J. Cook. There was this event in 1774 during the Pacific exploration. At that time the island was uninhabited. Only in 1788 it began to be used as a colony. Norfolk Island becomes the place of exile from England.
In 1814, the maintenance of the colony was considered unprofitable, and it was closed. Only in 1825 it was restored again. For 30 years, the strict regime prison on this island has become a haven for many criminals, who here were exiled for both serious crimes and minor flaws.
In 1854 the colony was finally liquidated. Over the course of several years, residents of the village of O. Pitcairn. In this regard, the island organized local self-government, which was subordinated to the British colony - New South Wales. 1913 became significant for the island, it was then that Norfolk gained the status of the Australian external territory and became controlled by the Australian government.
Norfolk is a small island whose area is 34.6 square kilometers. It is located between 29 ° 02 'southern latitude and 167 ° 57' east longitude. The island has a volcanic origin and corresponding relief, in the center the height above sea level is greater than that of the coast. The average height is 100-110 meters, and the highest peak is 320 meters (Mount Bates).
The main language on the island is English. Also, most recently, in 2005, the official status was also given to the Norfolk language - a mixture of English and Tahitian. It may be incomprehensible to English-speaking citizens arriving on the island of Norfolk.
The capital of the external Australian territory is Kingston. This is not a city, but a big village. The settlement was founded as a colony of strict regime for criminals. Now there you can see the ruins of the prison, which are an interesting tourist attraction. For this reason, all travelers are sure to visit Kingston.
Norfolk Island and its inhabitants
The population of this small island in 2011 was 2302 people. The maximum number of permanent residents was recorded in 2001 and amounted to 2,601 people. The main reason for the decline in the population is the outflow of young people leaving the island for education and in search of work.
Speaking about the composition of the population, according to the 2011 census, 47% are men and 53% are women. The age composition indicates the aging of the population: Norfolk at the age of 15 years - 16%, from 15 to 64 - 54%, and people over 65 - 24%. Most modern Norfolk people are old settlers from Pitcairn Island, but there are also visitors from Australia, New Zealand, and even several families from Russia.
Economy of the island
The basis of the Norfolk economy is the tourism business. Every year, from thirty to forty thousand tourists come to the island. They are mostly Australians and New Zealanders. Tourist visits to Norfolk are ecotourism, since the island can not boast of developed infrastructure and entertainment. People who are attracted by unique vegetation, an amazing underwater world, picturesque coves, a mild subtropical climate, and the low cost of goods and services are hurrying here.
In addition to tourism, the island of Norfolk receives income from the issue of postage stamps, the sale of seedlings and the seeds of the palm tree of Kentia and Norfolk pine, growing in these territories. Agriculture is also developed here. Local residents are engaged in the cultivation of vegetable and cereal crops, as well as the breeding of cattle.
The main attractions that the Norfolk Island is famous for
Photos of modern Norfolk can be confused with pictures taken in the XVII-XVIII centuries. Tourists who come to this island, sometimes it seems that they have traveled in time. Life here is calm and measured. You will not see large cities, multi-storey buildings from gray concrete and colorful shops. On the whole territory of the island are scattered small cozy villages and farms.
What Norfolk can interest tourists?
A popular tourist attraction is the ruins of Norfolk Prison, which are located in Kingston. This place is associated with many legends and beliefs, telling about the ghosts and spirits of prisoners. Locals often organize evening and night excursions to the most mysterious and enigmatic places in Norfolk, such as the Bloody Bridge, during which the bodies of several killed prison guards, the old cemetery of convicts and, of course, the ruins of the prison walls were walled in.
The museum, which is located in the old building of the port warehouse, acquaints tourists with the most significant events in the history of Norfolk. There are also stored artifacts collected after the wreck of the ship "Sirius", sunk in one of the bays of the island.
The flora of the island deserves special attention, so in 1986 a botanical garden was established, covering an area of five and a half hectares. Here the unique Norfolk forest is preserved unchanged. The park was designed by the best landscape designers from the UK.
At the foot of Mount Bates, in the north of the island, stands a commemorative monument in honor of the discoverer of Norfolk James Cook.
A few kilometers to the south of Norfolk there is another small islet. His visit to the island is included in the mandatory program of all Norfolk tourist routes. The reason for this - not picturesque views and a rich animal world, but on the contrary, landscapes that resemble pictures of other planets. Volcanic slopes are almost completely devoid of vegetation, and rocky soil overflows with all shades of red, contrasting with the azure waves.
Hard to believe, but the island of Philip was once a real green paradise. Irresponsible attitude of man to nature has caused such dramatic changes. Endemic rain forests covering this small patch of land were completely destroyed by rabbits, goats and pigs, which were bred here in huge quantities. After that, the fertile soil became unprotected and was washed away by sea waves.
Currently, local enthusiasts, in conjunction with the Australian Society for the Protection of Wildlife, are working on the restoration of the flora and fauna of Philip.
The Norfolk Symbol
The flag of the island of Norfolk contains images of the main symbol - the Norfolk pine. This same tree is depicted on the coat of arms of the Australian self-governing territory. Norfolk pine is the basis of the plant world of the island. One of the important activities of the residents is the trade in seeds and seedlings of this unique coniferous plant.
Interesting facts about Norfolk Island
- Although earlier in this small piece of land among the Pacific Ocean, mostly offenders lived, now there is zero crime rate. Local residents can even leave their houses and cars open while feeling calm.
- The island is named after the wife of Edward Howard (9th Duke of Norfolk) - the Duchess of Norfolk.
- On the island there are no railways, harbors, ports and highways. Communication with the outside world is mainly through the Norfolk Island Airport - the only one on the island.
- Norfolk Island is the only place except America, where Thanksgiving Day is celebrated.