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National Day of Norfolk Island

The National Day of Norfolk Island or Bounty Day as it is known in the region is celebrated every year on June 8 in memory of the Pitcairn Islanders who arrived here in 1856.
The intriguing story of Bounty Day dates back to 1787 when a British office, Lieutenant William Bligh, was ordered to sail the HMS Bounty to Tahiti, where he had to gather breadfruit plants to be taken to slave-colonies of the Caribbean.

In 1789, Fletcher Christian along with 12 other crew members staged a mutiny and captured the ship. While Lieutenant Bligh survived and returned to England, the mutineers and a few Tahitian families found refuge in Pitcairn, a tiny island in Southern Pacific region.

Over the years as Pitcairn colony grew, the descendents of the Bounty crew appealed to the British government for a larger home and were granted the Norfolk Island.

Since then the islanders have been celebrating Bounty Day to commemorate the arrival of Bounty mutineers.

Every year the National Day of Norfolk Island starts off with the re-enactment of the landing of the Pitcairn settlers. The actors wear traditional costumes and the re-enactment begins at the pier and then proceeds towards the monument, where wreaths are laid in memory of the original settlers. The actors then march to the cemetery where hymns are sung, and later at the Government House one of the families with the legendary surnames-Christian, Adams, Young, Quintal and McCoy - is awarded the title of 'Family of the Year.'

Historic Overview
The history of the earliest inhabitants of the Norfolk Island remains a mystery. It is believed that probably East Polynesian seafarers came to the island in the 14th or 15th century, and stayed for a few generations before moving on. The first European contact for the island was in 1774, when Captain James Cook discovered the island and claimed it for Great Britain.
Britain was embroiled in the American War of Independence at the time. Fearing French colonization, Britain quickly moved to make Norfolk Island its own colony.

In 1825, for the second time the island became a prisoners' colony (the first one being in reign of Governor Arthur Philip who established a prisoner settlement in 1778). The convict era came to an end in 1856, when the Pitcairners, the descendants of the Bounty Mutineers, were granted this island as their home by Britain.

With the formation of Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, Norfolk Island was part of the Commonwealth, and it was not until 1979 that it was allowed limited self-rule.

About Norfolk Island
Norfolk Island is located in the South Pacific Ocean, east of the Australian mainland. It was formed more than two and a half million years ago by lava deposits from an undersea volcano. Today, it has its own nine-member government, stamps, and immigration and custom laws, but it still uses Australian currency, police and other Australian associations. Although English is common on the island, its traditional language is a mixture of seafaring English and Tahitian.