Sunday, June 11, 2017

Gravestones reveal a rich and dark history on Norfolk Island

The old gravestones on Norfolk Island read like pages of a book providing a cameo of a life long gone. Overlooking the raging Pacific Ocean, the cemetery separated the deceased from their homeland far-away. 

Here, on the island, many soldiers', sailors' and First Fleet settlers' were buried from the late 1700s until today.
Stephen Smith (40 yrs) was murdered by the convicts during a mutiny in the penitentiary. The convicts were not buried here.

Charles Turner (20 yrs) drowned when he fell from his boat while fishing. Alfred Baldock drowned when crossing the bar. Baird and Bergin also drowned. 

George Hale (47 yrs) – commander of the whaling ship GENERAL BOYD was obviously a staunch Freemason. He died of typhoid. 

Thomas York and James Neale – soldiers - were shot by accident. Michael Mansfield (22 yrs) died when he fell from his horse. Soldiers from various regiments were in their early 20s when they died.

Plus there are the numerous headstones bearing the names of the descendants of the mutineers of the BOUNTY who were transported from Pitcairn Island to Norfolk Island in the mid 1800s (e.g. Peggy - wife of Fletcher Christian – but not the original).

Dozens, if not hundreds of epitaphs bear the surname of mutineers - Christian, Adams, Nobbs, McCoy and Quintal. They now stand in proud defiance of British authority.
Murderers’ mound, near the sea and outside the bounds of the consecrated ground is where the guilty men (and a few innocents) were buried after being hung from the gallows.
Imagine how many stories are buried here.

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