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Norfolk Island(nôr`fək), island (2016 pop. 1,748), 13 sq mi (34 sq km), South Pacific, a territory of Australia, c.1,035 mi (1,670 km) NE of Sydney. Its capital is KingstonKingston,
town, capital of the Australian territory of Norfolk Island, located on the island's S coast, on Emily Bay. Kingston is the administrative and historic center of Norfolk Island; its commercial center is nearby Burnt Pine. Tourism is the mainstay of the local economy.
..... Click the link for more information. . Now a resort, Norfolk has luxuriant vegetation and is known for its "pine" trees, which are not true pines but evergreens of the araucaria family (see monkey-puzzle treemonkey-puzzle tree,
evergreen tree (Araucaria araucana) native to Chile and widely cultivated elsewhere as an ornamental. The symmetrical branches have an unusual angularity and are completely covered by the stiff, overlapping leaves.
..... Click the link for more information. ).
Explored in 1774 by Capt. James CookCook, James,
1728–79, English explorer and navigator. The son of a Yorkshire agricultural laborer, he had little formal education. After an apprenticeship to a firm of shipowners at Whitby, he joined (1755) the royal navy and surveyed the St.
..... Click the link for more information. , the then-uninhabited island (there had been an earlier Polynesian settlement) was claimed by Great Britain in the hope that the trees would provide masts for the navy. When the wood proved unsatisfactory, Norfolk was made into a prison island (1788–1855). In 1856 the prisoners were removed and some of the descendants of the Bounty mutineers were moved to Norfolk from Pitcairn IslandPitcairn Island,
volcanic island (2005 est. pop. 45), 2.5 sq mi (6.5 sq km), South Pacific, SE of Tuamotu Archipelago. Adamstown is the capital and only settlement. The first British Pacific Islands possession (1838), the island is officially administered by a governor (the
..... Click the link for more information. . There are also Australians, New Zealanders, and Polynesians living on the island. Most of the people belong to the Anglican, Roman Catholic, or other Christian churches. English is the official language, but Norfolk, a mixture of 18th cent. English and ancient Tahitian, is also spoken. Many of the old prison colony buildings have been restored and contribute to the island's main industry, tourism. Norfolk Island pine and Kentia palm seeds and avocados are exported. There are natural gas deposits south of the island.
Norfolk Island was annexed to Tasmania in 1844, became a dependency of New South Wales in 1896, and was transferred to the Commonwealth of Australia in 1913. The island was governed under the Norfolk Island Act of 1979, which granted limited self-rule to the territory, established a legislative assembly, and gave the island federal- and state-level powers. Financial problems led to Australian legislation in 2015 ending the island's autonomy and reducing it to local administrative status in 2016, treating the territory administratively as part of New South Wales.
See study by M. Hoare (1971).