Norfolk Island’s colourful history makes for an interesting and eye opening visit to the island. The world heritage and historic sites, together with the museums and tours allow visitors to relive the history of the convict and Polynesian settlements to the destination, as well as enjoy the picturesque natural beauty that surrounds it today. Here are a few of the popular places you can gain insight into the island’s history & visit the remnants of times passed.
The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area, otherwise known as KAVHA became an important location for Australia’s convict settlement between 1788 and 1855. The site also showcases Polynesian settlement before 1788 and Pitcairn Island history from 1856, and was included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in July 2010. Today, visitors to the area can stroll around the historic relics that were left behind, visit 4 Kingston museums, enjoy the picturesque surroundings, swim or snorkel in the lagoon or enjoy a BBQ picnic lunch by the water.
THE CRANK MILL
This building is located at Kingston Pier and was built in 1827 for the Commissariat Granary, and a decade later the Crank Mill was installed for the “punishment of men in irons” (ref: Convict Kingston by Nan Smith). If you visit the Commissariat Museum in Kingston, you can see a gear mechanism from the millstone on display.
NORFOLK ISLAND CEMETERY
The cemetery was established in the 1820’s and is the final resting place for convicts, many Pitcairn Islanders who were descendants of the Bounty mutineers and soldiers who ruled over the convicts over two separate settlements. It also features many tombstones brought over from other burial sites.
Located on beautiful Emily Bay, the Salthouse was designed to retain sea water. The water was then partially evaporated here before taken to the salt pans where the production process was sped up using fire. In the 19th century, salt was a valuable source and was used to preserve small rations of meat given to convicts serving out their punishment at the penal colony. Today, the location of Emily Bay is a stunning beach that gives locals and visitors a perfect place to swim, snorkel and relax.
THE NEW GAOL
Built between 1836 and 1847, The New Gaol (Jail) aimed to isolate prisoners. It featured a central pentagon building with 84 cells and each cell had stone walls and floors with a timber ceiling. Each cell was 6 feet long, 5 feet wide and almost 11 feet high, and was occupied by up to 3 prisoners. The complex also had another 40 cell block, two service buildings and 12 solitary confinement rooms. Today, the external walls of the pentagon jail are still preserved, and visitors are free to stroll through the site.
OTHER SITES TO CONSIDER
- St Barnabas Chapel
- Horse Stables
- Bloody Bridge
- Quality Row
- Government House
- Aunt Amy’s House
You can visit any of these sites on one of our History in the Making or World Heritage Norfolk History tours which are included in all of our 7-day Norfolk Island holiday packages.
For more information on Norfolk Island Holidays, please get in touch with our team of specialist consultants on 1800 800 722.
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