Two British attempts at establishing the island as a penal colony (1788-1814 and 1825-55) were ultimately abandoned. In 1856, the island was resettled by Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions.



Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia

Geographic coordinates

29 02 S, 167 57 E

Map references



total: 36 sq km
land: 36 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

about 0.2 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries

0 km


32 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


subtropical; mild, little seasonal temperature variation


volcanic island with mostly rolling plains


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Bates 319 m

Natural resources


Land use

agricultural land: 25%
arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 25%
forest: 11.5%
other: 63.5% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

0 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

typhoons (especially May to July)

Environment - current issues


Geography - note

most of the 32 km coastline consists of almost inaccessible cliffs, but the land slopes down to the sea in one small southern area on Sydney Bay, where the capital of Kingston is situated

People and Society

Ethnic groups

Australian 79.5%, New Zealander 13.3%, Fijian 2.5%, Filipino 1.1%, English 1%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.8% (2011 est.)


2,210 (July 2014 est.)


noun: Norfolk Islander(s)
adjective: Norfolk Islander(s)


English (official) 67.6%, other 32.4% (includes Norfolk Island 23.7%, which is a mixture of 18th century English and ancient Tahitian) (2011 est.)


Protestant 49.6% (Anglican 31.8%, Uniting Church in Australia 10.6%, Seventh Day Adventist 3.2%), Roman Catholic 11.7%, other 8.6%, none 23.5%, unspecified 6.6% (2011 est.)

Population growth rate

0.01% (2014 est.)

Sex ratio


Infant mortality rate

total: NA
male: NA
female: NA

Life expectancy at birth

total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA

Total fertility rate


HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths



Country name

conventional long form: Territory of Norfolk Island
conventional short form: Norfolk Island
etymology: named by British explorer Captain James COOK after Mary HOWARD, Duchess of Norfolk, in 1774

Dependency status

self-governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport

Government type

parliamentary democracy (formerly the Legislative Assembly); overseas territory of Australia; note - in May 2015, the Australian Parliament passed the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 which abolished Norfolk Island self-government and replaced it with an interim Advisory Council effective 1 July 2015


name: Kingston
geographic coordinates: 29 03 S, 167 58 E
time difference: UTC+11 (16 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

none (territory of Australia)


none (territory of Australia)

National holiday

Bounty Day (commemorates the arrival of Pitcairn Islanders), 8 June (1856)


previous 1913, 1957; latest effective 7 August 1979; amended many times, last in 2015 (2016)

Legal system

English common law and the laws of Australia


see Australia


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by the Australian governor general
head of government: Administrator Gary HARDGRAVE (since 1 July 2014)
cabinet: Executive Council consists of 4 Legislative Assembly members
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia for a 2-year term and represents the monarch and Australia

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Norfolk Island Regional Council (5 seats; members directly elected by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms)
elections: elections last held 28 May 2016; next to be held 2020
election results: party by seats - independents 5
note: following an administrative restructuring of local government, the Legislative Assembly was dissolved on 18 June 2015 to be replaced by an interim Norfolk Island Advisory Council effective 1 July 2015; the Advisory Council consisted of 5 members appointed by the Norfolk Island administrator based on nominations from the community; following elections on 28 May 2016, the new Norfolk Island Regional Council commenced operations on 1 July 2016

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Norfolk Island (consists of the chief justice and several justices); note - appeals beyond the Supreme Court of Norfolk Island are heard by the Federal Court and the High Court of Australia
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the governor general of Australia from among justices of the Federal Court of Australia; justices serve until mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: Petty Court of Sessions; specialized courts including a Coroner's Court and the Employment Tribunal

Political parties and leaders

Norfolk Island Labor Party [Mike KELLY]
Norfolk Liberals [John BROWN]

Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

none (territory of Australia)

Diplomatic representation from the US

none (territory of Australia)

Flag description

three vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and green with a large green Norfolk Island pine tree centered in the slightly wider white band; green stands for the rich vegetation on the island, and the pine tree - endemic to the island - is a symbol of Norfolk Island
note: somewhat reminiscent of the flag of Canada with its use of only two colors and depiction of a prominent local floral symbol in the central white band; also resembles the green and white triband of Nigeria

National symbol(s)

Norfolk Island pine

National anthem

name: "Come Ye Blessed"
lyrics/music: New Testament/John Prindle SCOTT
note: the local anthem, whose lyrics consist of the words from Matthew 25:34-36, 40, is also known as "The Pitcairn Anthem;" as a territory of Australia, "God Save the Queen" is official (see Australia); however, the island does not recognize "Advance Australia Fair"


Economy - overview

Norfolk Island is suffering from a severe economic downturn. Tourism, the primary economic activity, is the main driver of economic growth. The agricultural sector has become self-sufficient in the production of beef, poultry, and eggs.

GDP (purchasing power parity)


Agriculture - products

Norfolk Island pine seed, Kentia palm seed, cereals, vegetables, fruit; cattle, poultry


tourism, light industry, ready mixed concrete

Labor force

978 (2006)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 6%
industry: 14%
services: 80% (2006 est.)


revenues: $4.6 million
expenditures: $4.8 million (FY99/00)

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June



Exports - commodities

postage stamps, seeds of the Norfolk Island pine and Kentia palm, small quantities of avocados



Imports - commodities


Debt - external


Exchange rates

Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
1.352 (2016 est.)
1.3291 (2015 est.)
1.3291 (2013)
1.0358 (2013)
0.97 (2012)



Telephone system

general assessment: adequate
domestic: free local calls
international: country code - 672; submarine cable links with Australia and New Zealand; satellite earth station - 1

Broadcast media

1 local radio station; broadcasts of several Australian radio and TV stations available via satellite (2009)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 765
percent of population: 34.6% (July 2015 est.)



1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)


total: 80 km
paved: 53 km
unpaved: 27 km (2008)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Kingston


Military - note

defense is the responsibility of Australia

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international