In 1825, after eleven years drowsing in the sun, Norfolk Island was elected by His Majesty's Government to be the site of another colony.
The original settlement was established primarily in order to develop the resources of the island. This one had no such purpose. It was designed to be conducted along the lines of 'a great Hulk or Penitentiary' for the incarceration of 're-convicted incorrigibles'. It was designated to become 'a place of the severest punishment short of death'. Sir Thomas Brisbane wrote: 'I could wish it to be understood that the felon who is sent there is forever excluded from hope of return'.
A relic of those days can be seen near the pier at Kingston. This building contained the Crank Mill. It operated on the principle of a capstan but was appallingly heavy, its team of convicts being required to turn two gigantic grindstones. The overseer sat in a gallery high up in the wall, ignoring the screeches, curses and hoots of the toiling wretches below him but making sure that no man flagged for an instant. It is said that the fearful clankings and grindings of the crank mill could be heard as far away as Anson Bay.
In a letter to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, an observer wrote:
'If the wretches at Norfolk Island were fiends and not men, they could not be worse treated'.
Judge Sir Roger Therry wrote of a group of convicts sent to Sydney by Morisset to give evidence at the trial of one of their brethren:
'Their sunken glazed eyes, deadly pale faces, hollow fleshless cheeks and once manly limbs shrivelled and withered up a if by premature old age, created horror among those in court. There was not one of the six who had not undergone from time to time, a thousand lashes each and more. They looked less like human beings than the shadows of gnomes who had risen from their sepulchral abode. What man was or ever could be reclaimed under such a system as this?'
The 'Bounty' Connection
Seeds of Mutiny
The Open Boat Journey
Starvation on Norfolk
Fate of the Bounty Mutineers
The Noble Savages
Hell in Paradise
Pitcairn to Norfolk