Early settlements

Norfolk Island has a fascinating history. Before European discovery it appears to have been settled for a short period in the fourteenth or fifteenth century by Polynesian seafarers.

The island's European history began when it was settled in 1788 by Captain James Cook in his second voyage to the antipodes.

A convict settlement in 1825 began the dark days of Norfolk's history. This also signalled the start of the island's degradation as clearing for large-scale agriculture and ambitious building works began. In 1855 the last convicts were removed from the island but in 1856 it was settled once more - this time by descendants of the famous 'Bounty' mutineers and their Tahitian wives.

The descendants now make up about a third of the island's population, along with roughly equal numbers of Australian and New Zealand settlers, and a small number of people from various parts of the world, bringing the total population to about 1800.