History takes root

LINKS between New Norfolk and its Pacific Ocean namesake were reinforced today with the presentation of two Norfolk Island Pines by the Federal Member for Lyons, Dick Adams MHR. Recently returned from a trip to Norfolk Island, Mr Adams decided on a pair of iconic pines as the ideal gift to New Norfolk in its bicentennial year.

“In 1808 some of the residents of Norfolk Island were ‘persuaded’ to go to Van Diemens Land with offers of land, houses and convicts to help clear land, along with food and clothing from the stores for 12 months,” Mr Adams said today. “These people formed the basis of the first white settlement in New Norfolk and we can only imagine what they thought as they entered the valley and saw what was then still uncharted territory.”

Mr Adams said New Norfolk had been settled by a mix of convicts and free settlers from Norfolk Island in 1808, when the island penal colony became unsustainable. Governor Lachlan Macquarie named the fledgling settlement “Elizabeth Town” but the name “New Norfolk” was preferred by the settlers who wanted to preserve a link with their former island home.

“That link is still strong, and can be seen through the visitors from Norfolk Island who attended the Derwent Valley Autumn Festival this year and helped to celebrate the bicentennial,” Mr Adams said. “It seems very appropriate to be there today and to present these two Norfolk Island Pine saplings to the Derwent Valley Garden Club to look after them while the Bicentennial Committee decides on a permanent place for them. As these trees grow strong in the fertile Derwent Valley soil, they should not only remind us of the historical links to Norfolk Island, but also of the strong future New Norfolk has,” Mr Adams said.

Like many New Norfolk residents, Mr Adams has a personal link with Norfolk Island as he is a descendant of the islanders relocated to Tasmania. His ancestors settled near Launceston at Norfolk Plains, now called Longford. The Norfolk Island Pine has long been associated with New Norfolk and features prominently in the logo created for the town’s bicentenary.

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