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Norfolk Island…Ruins of Kingston

The Second Settlement of Norfolk Island was designed to be a living hell. Only the worst of the worst convicts were transported there with little hope of making it back to mainland Australia. Their punishment was to do manual labour from sunrise to sunset with no proper tools. They would get flogged for trivial offences. The prisons and related buildings were built close to the water and the buildings on Quality Row (houses for non-convicts and government offices) were built further up the hill to provide maximum surveillance and lessen the chances of successful escape by convicts. Some of the buildings have fallen to ruin over the years but you can still see the walls of the prison.

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The entry to the Civil Hospital.

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In this building we watched “The Trial of 15”, a quite-funny play about the history of the convict past. Fifteen different characters from the island’s early settlement to the arrival of the Pitcairners give evidence, thereby revealing the history of the island. I wasn’t surprised to learn that the play has been running for several sessions every week for more than ten years. Unfortunately we couldn’t take photos during the play.

Norfolk Island cemetery

The next stop on our tour was the cemetery. This is actually the second cemetery. The first one was built near Emily Bay (not far from this one) during the first settlement. Being on the edge of the ocean means there has been a lot of damage over hundreds of years by the winds.

There are some fascinating (and tragic) stories behind a lot of the headstones. We saw the graves of some of the mutineers from the Bounty and their descendants. There were a lot of young deaths but I saw one where a man had lived to 105 years old.

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This photo clearly shows the ravages the wind coming off the ocean can do to trees. It fascinated me

Norfolk Island’s Officer’s Baths….an engineering marvel

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We had only just got back on the bus tour of Kingston at the Commissariat when we stopped again what felt like a few metres up the road. I couldn’t see anything to look at but the driver was quite animated as he led us to the Baths. It was obvious he is really proud of what they have achieved.

The Baths are an engineering marvel because they help supply fresh water to Kingston. It is believed that two stonemasons were deliberately convicted of crimes in London so they could be transported to Norfolk Island to help the residents address some of their engineering needs.

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The bath is an underground passage with a domed ceiling made of stone. Fresh water from a dammed creek in the Soldiers’ Gully flows through the conduit to the Officers’ Bath. The fresh water then passes below the Quality Row and cascades into the stream, which flows through the Common into the Emily Bay.

Norfolk Island…Captain Cook Monument

Captain James Cook stopped briefly on the northern coast of Norfolk Island on his journey to discover Australia. He saw the gigantic pine trees and thought the wood would be make perfect masts for his fleet. However he soon found the wood is too soft and moved his fleet of ships on to their next destination.

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A monument to his brief stay has been erected. From the monument, you can see more beautiful, rugged coastline.

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