NORFOLK ISLAND, with the much smaller Nepean Island and Phillip Island, lies about 29° 3' S. lat. and 167° 58' E. long, 400 miles north-north-west of New Zealand, on a submarine tableland extending 18 miles to the north, and 25 miles to the south, with an average breadth of 18 miles. Measuring about 6
miles in length from north-west to south-east, Norfolk Island has an area of 8607 acres, or 13i square miles. The breakers of the Pacific beating on its high cliff-bound coast render it diffi cult or even impossible to land except at two places, and even there not without danger. With a general elevation of 400 feet above the sea the surface of
the island rises in the northwest into Mount Pitt, whose double summit is 1050 feet in height. The soil, of decomposed basalt, is well watered and wonderfully fertile. A rich undulating pasture-land clothed with clumps of trees and copses gives a park-like appearance to the general aspect of the country. The Norfolk Island pine (Eutassa excelsa), a magnificent tree, with a height at times of 200
feet and a girth of 30, forms a fine avenue between Sydney and St Barnabas, though of the forest that clothed the slopes of Mount Pitt only a few of the larger trees are left. A small species of palm is known as the Norfolk Island cabbage. The underwood is largely composed of lemon trees ; and guavas, bananas, peaches, and pine-apples are to be had in abundance. Sweet potatoes are the staple
crop, but common potatoes, maize, yams, and even barley and oats are cultivated. The climate is genial and healthy, the thermometer rarely sinking below 65°. In 1862 the population was 268; in 1871, 481; and in 1880, 663. The descendants of the Pitcairn Islanders, who form two-thirds of the inhabitants, have their chief settlement on the south side, on Sydney Bay, where the buildings
of the old penal establishment were placed at their disposal. A thousand acres on the west side of the island are held by the mission station of St Barnabas, founded by Bishop Patteson, where 150 Melanesian boys and girls receive education.
The following are the main facts in the history of Norfolk Island. 1774. Island discovered by Captain Cook. 1788. Taken possession of by Philip G. King of the " Stirling " and twenty-four convicts from New South Wales. 1805. Settlement abandoned by order issued in 1803. 1826. Island made penal settlement for New South Wales
convicts. 1842. Island transferred from New South Wales to Tasmania. 1856. Pitcairn Islanders to the number of 194 take the place of the convicts. 1867. Melanesian mission station settled at St Baruabas. 1882. Memorial church to Bishop Patteson erected at a cost of £5000, the windows being designed by Burns Jones and executed by W. Morris.
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