Early Days

By the standards of those times, Philip Gidley King was a relatively benign man and far worse were to follow him. A twentieth century mind, however, might find his methods blood-curdling. Six weeks after the landing, King meted out his first punishment. Seaman John Batchelor was accused of stealing rum from King's own tent and received three dozen lashes.

Undeterred by being forced to watch the flogging of Batchelor, young Charles McLennan went on a rum search and found it in Surgeon Jamieson's tent. For this he received 50 lashes. He had just recently turned sixteen.

The Commandant lost no time in taking to himself a mistress, choosing an ex-dressmaker named Ann Inett who, for stealing a few clothes, had been sentenced to death by hanging, but reprieved and given seven years transportation. Encouraged by King's example, Edward Garth, a young man who had also had his death sentence reprieved, paired off with Susannah Gough, an ex-prostitute, while Nathaniel Lucas, a carpenter, settled down with 25-years-old Olivia Gasgoin whose crime was rather more serious than the others - 'stealing with force and arms'. In a very short time, all three ladies were pregnant and a new generation was beginning, a people whose origins were in the South Pacific.

On the 8th of January, 1789, Ann Inett presented Commandant King with the settlement's first child, which he proudly named 'Norfolk'.

In a matter of only months, King's convicts constructed a road from Sydney Bay (Kingston) to Anson Bay, via Mount Pitt, and made much headway in clearing ground, felling trees, and sawing wood for a variety of buildings. He located a good source of limestone at the western end of Turtle Bay (now known as Emily) and thus had the ingredient for mortar and plaster. By April of '89, he could report that food crops were very promising - groves of Rio banana trees, orange trees, sugar cane, rice, wheat and barley, pumpkins, potatoes, turnips, artichokes, lettuce, onions, leeks, celery and parsley. The land was proving much more productive than that around Port Jackson. Hopes were high.

Norfolk Island History in Detail

Early Days
The 'Bounty' Connection
Seeds of Mutiny
The Open Boat Journey
Starvation on Norfolk
Fate of the Bounty Mutineers
The Noble Savages
Second Settlement
Hell in Paradise
Pitcairn to Norfolk