Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island





Quick reference

General issues: Australian territory 1947-1979, Australian territory/Self government 1979-Present

Country name on general issues: Norfolk Island

Currency: 1 Pound = 20 Shilling, 1 Shilling = 12 Pence 1947-1966, 1 Dollar = 100 Cents 1966-Present

Population: 400 in 1947, 1 800 in 2011

Political history Norfolk Island

Postal history Norfolk Island

Please click on the image to enlarge

Norfolk Island is located in the Pacific, 1 400 kilometers east of the Australian mainland – for the exact location please refer to the map of Modern Oceania. Although settled by Polynesian seafarers in the 14th century, Norfolk Island was uninhabited at the time of colonization. The first European to explore the island was the British explorer James Cook in 1774. The British were also the first to settle the island. In 1788, a penal colony was set up from New South Wales – this first penal colony was abandoned in 1814. A second penal colony was set up in 1825 – this second penal colony was abandoned in 1855. In 1856, free settlers arrived from Pitcairn Island – descendants of the mutineers on the HMS Bounty – that left Pitcairn as it became overpopulated. More free settlers followed in subsequent years, mainly from Australia and New Zealand.

Politically, Norfolk Island was, as a penal colony, administered initially by New South Wales, then transferred to Van Diemen’s Land – now Tasmania – in 1844 and 1855. When settled by free settlers in 1856, it was established first as a separate colony, then attached to New South Wales in 1897. In 1914, Norfolk Island became a federal territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and, as such, Norfolk Island gained self government in 1979.  In 2016, Norfolk became attached to New South Wales as a regional council.[1]A regional council is the Australian administrative level just below that of the state of territory level.  The nearby Nepean and Philip Island – both uninhabited – are administered as part Norfolk Island.

Subsistence farming has been the mainstay of the Norfolk Island economy until the 1960’s, when tourism was developed to become the most important economic activity.  The population is of European or mixed European and Polynesian descent – over half of today’s population still traces its roots to the settlers from Pitcairn.

Postal history Norfolk Island

Postal history Norfolk Island

1981 – Commemorating the first free settlers, migrating from Pitcairn to Norfolk Island in 1856.

The first stamps used on Norfolk Island were the stamps of Van Diemen’s Land[2]Now Tasmania  between 1854 and 1855. After the colony was re-established in 1856, it would take until 1877 before an irregular postal service was set up – now from New South Wales. A regular service was not established until 1897. The stamps of New South Wales were used from 1877. These were superseded by the issues of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1913.

Norfolk Island issued its first stamps in 1947. Norfolk Island has a separate stamp issuing policy and the stamps are valid on Norfolk Island only – not in Australia, just as Australian stamps are not valid on Norfolk Island. The stamps issued are a blend of themes of local interest and themes aimed at the thematic collectors market. In 2016, the postal administration has been transferred to Australia Post. Stamps will continue to be issued with the designation ‘Norfolk Island’ and will be valid in all of Australia and its territories and vice versa.[3]The territories are the Australian Antarctic Territory, Christmas Island and the Cocos Islands.

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2 Responses to Norfolk Island

  1. William Smith
    ‘Australia Post is issuing its first stamps with the “Norfolk Island” inscription Sept. 23. The stamps feature seabirds, and the inscription on the stamps matches the colors of their bills.’
    ‘As reported here on July 14, Norfolk Island became a regional council of the Australian state of New South Wales on July 1, and, at the same time, the island’s postage stamps were replaced by those of Australia.
    Although all Australian stamps are valid on Norfolk Island, Australia Post will issue special stamps “reflecting distinct aspects” of the island, according to Michael Zsolt, manager of the philatelic division of Australia Post. These stamps are valid throughout Australia and its territories.
    Australia Post issues similar stamps for the Australian Antarctic Territories [sic], Christmas Island, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.’

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