Monday, February 28, 2011

Visit of Europa

Today Norfolk Island welcomed 300 German visitors.

They landed on Norfolk from the Europa, that moored of Kingston, to a magnificent Norfolk autumn day.  The visitors went fishing, shopping, or toured around the island.  Enjoy these few photos.

THe Europa off the convict ruins at Kingston

 The Europa with Phillip Island in the background

 The reef at Slaughter Bay, looking to Emily Bay, Kingston.

Returning from fishing aboard Advance 2

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Poetry in the Park

The Community Arts Society of Norfolk Island's 10th Poetry in the Park was held today at beautiful Camelot Gardens on Rooty Hill Road.

The MC for this years event was Nicola Kennedy, who introduced 17 poets and over 20 poems, many performed in the Norf'k language.  The poems will be compiled into a blogsite in the coming weeks for you to read and enjoy - so keep an eye out for that!

Nicola introduced the evening by saying:

"Good evening, welkam and watawieh Ladies and Gentlemen.

Poetry is 'language concentrate'.  The rules are bent to allow the words to saturate our senses. 

A poem can make us laugh, make us cry, rally us to causes, make us swoon.  No other language form is as potent.

So prepare yourselves for a short evening of potent sense saturation!

Ten years ago Community Arts member Dean Johnson's vision for a community poetry evening was realised and it is continuing to delight us all still.

I think it is only appropriate to open proceedings with one simple stanza from one of the poems from that very first Poetry in the Park.  And I think you'll agree that in the light of what I've just said about poetry and sens saturation; it's absolutely spot on.  Archie Bigg remined us:

'So my friends if you eat nanwi
Take some good avice from me
Eat it early for your breakfast
Don't eat nanwi for your tea!'"

Recently at BAUNTI we met a poet from Australia who came into our office in Burnt Pine and started to recite some of his poems.  His name was Mal Castledine (with wife left).  Nicola ended this year's event with one of his poems - and a very appropriate one it was given Poetry in the Park was held in a beautiful Norfolk garden.  Thank you Mal.


There's a house and garden ... not far from here,
My memories of them are very clear.

Mrs Vidler lived there when I was small,
She planted some trees and now they're tall.

She fussed over roses, that I thought were dead,
But each summer they burst into blossom instead.

She laughed when I said, 'I hated their thorn',
She said 'You smell their perfume in the early morn.'

She was there each morning when I walked to school,
weeding the garden on her kneeling stool.

And in the afternoon when I'd walk by,
I'd complain about school and she'd give me some pie.

Birds and butterflies were always around,
When she planted some seeds or dug up the ground.

But she was never lonely ... when I think back and see ...
She had God,
She had garden,
and of course
She had me.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wellness in our world

On Norfolk Island there are masseuses who work in a room of their homes and masseuses that work in beauty salons, but Aurelia is a home that has been totally converted into a health, fitness and relaxation centre and offers the services of a masseuse. It has a beautifully paved driveway leading to dedicated parking space. It has well appointed bathroom facilities, massage rooms, exercise rooms, a flotation tank room, a sauna room and a kitchen that can provide healthy refreshments suitable to the treatments being offered. There is no other business on Norfolk that offers these facilities, not to mention the services that go with them, or even the coordinated programs that link them into full wellness experiences.

As well as the amazing facilities at Aurelia, you can enjoy a massage ... in the beautiful outdoors in The World of Norfolk.  Come on over and be pampered at Aurelia.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our part in Australia's Day

This week we celebrated Australia Day on Norfolk Island with a public holiday and official functions and awards at Government House. Here, January 26th has deep and resonating meaning for Norfolk Island. In 1788, the first fleet made landfall in the great south land, Terra Australis, on that day, but immediately plans were made to send the flagship, Sirius, to Norfolk Island to establish the main food and manufacturing centre for the new colony.

Cook’s reports of a lush, pine covered island in the South Pacific with potential for providing the English navy with masts, spars and sails, had been one of the strong points in favour of the selection of Australia as a British penal settlement. So just six weeks after the fist landing at Botany Bay, Phillip Gidley King and his small band of convict men and women and marines established the first outpost on Norfolk Island, and named it, Sydney. We celebrate this occasion on 6th March as ‘Foundation Day’.

Therefore, 26th January, 1788 is an extremely important date for Norfolk Island, because it effectively marks the start of our history of European settlement as well as Australia’s. And our first settlers were ‘First Fleeters’. Interestingly, we have a number of people living on the island who are descended from some of these remarkable people. In fact, there are two women whose female ancestors were tried at the same time in England, transported together on the first fleet and then both were selected to come to Norfolk Island because their skills and good behaviour marked them as ideal pioneers.

It is also interesting to note that many of the convicts who came to Norfolk Island between 1788 and 1814 were granted their freedom and became prosperous farmers here. They then went on to become some of the most successful landowners and business people of Van Diemen’s Land and New South Wales and their descendants have gone on to even greater things.

Unfortunately, Norfolk is also the final resting place of the ‘Sirius’, which was perhaps the best equipped vessel of the first fleet. She was certainly critical to the communications and supply lines between Sydney Cove and Norfolk Island and her sinking led to great hardship in both places. It took great ingenuity and courage to survive following the sinking and sadly, at least one species of bird was all but wiped out as a result. The ‘Providence’ petrel that nested in the roots of the pines on the hillsides was hunted relentlessly to feed the starving community.

However, both settlements did recover from this calamity and while the convict settlement on Norfolk was eventually closed in 1814, another was re-established in 1825. When this establishment was closed in 1856, Queen Victoria gifted the island to the Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the mutineers from the ‘Bounty’ and their Polynesian wives and they made Norfolk their home from 8th June, 1856.

There are those who wonder why we celebrate Australia Day with so much fanfare yet do little to mark Waitangi Day, considering so many New Zealanders have made this their home. However, the celebration of Australia Day has a twofold significance for Norfolk Islanders. We celebrate the day to acknowledge our role in the Australian Commonwealth and welcome those members of our community who choose to take Australian citizenship; but we also pay homage to the vital role Norfolk Island played in the foundation of the Australian nation.

Bill Blucher and Marie Bailey - Australia Day Awards (OAM)

Alan Tavener (L) Citizen of the Year; Mark Karlsrap (R)
Junior Sports Award;
with the Administrator Owen Walsh and wife Bianca

'New' Australian Citizens - Ken Lunn, Dave South, Liz and Peter Walkinshaw

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Artistic Flair at Wearable Arts

On Saturday evening (22 January 2011), the Wearable Arts Festival at Rawson Hall showcased a vast array of waste products miraculously transformed into haute couture and cutting edge fashion.

This celebration is eagerly anticipated by the local residents each year. The Festival is organised by the Community Arts Society and over the years it has become a truly memorable spectacle. There are five categories of entries: recycled materials, ‘bizarre bra’, natural fibres, from the ocean or the sky - (birds / marine life) and extravagant open. The garments that are created range from underwear and sportswear to the most elaborate evening gowns. Every conceivable style, era and influence is mined to produce these flights of fancy.

Artists showed their own creations, or used a model, and whoever dis the wearing had to be prepared to ‘shake that bootay’! The music was pumping, the lights strobed, and it was up-tempo from opening curtain at 7pm, until the very last prize winner was announced.

Winner: Dress made from recycled stubbie can flip tops

Recycled material - Dress made from coffee cups

Origami dress

Dress made from paperbark

Winner: Dresses and hats made from tapa cloth

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Escape to a slower pace on Norfolk Island with Baunti Tours

After spending seven days on beautiful Norfolk Island I came back to Australia determined to relax and take life easier. The Norfolk people endeavour to do this for most of their day and this certainly makes Norfolk Island a laid-back place to spend a holiday. Community spirit abounds and a friendly wave is the norm on a walk around the island.

Travelling with Baunti Escapes Tours (or the English ‘Bounty’) we departed from Brisbane International Airport for the short flight across to Norfolk Island. My request to Norfolk Air for a gluten free meal was fulfilled – and I was impressed with the variety of gluten free food on the tray! We were met at the Norfolk Airport by Megan Christian (sixth generation descendant of Bounty mutiny leader, Fletcher Christian) who made sure we were all safely on the right mini bus for the trip to our hotel.

Waiting for us in the lounge of our hotel, the All Seasons Colonial Hotel, was a refreshing cocktail and as it was a hot, humid day this was most welcome! Whilst we were being given the keys to our allocated room our luggage was delivered promptly by hotel staff. Our room was spacious, well-appointed and spotlessly clean.

At sunset the hotel had organised a poolside barbeque to allow guests to meet and greet each other. I chose salads and steak that were gluten free – avoiding the delicious Norfolk sausages just to be on the safe side! Prior to departing Australia I had emailed the All Seasons Colonial Hotel and Baunti Tours to confirm that my gluten free diet could be guaranteed at both the hotel and the many tours and dinners that were part of the itinerary.

Our breakfasts were part of the tour package and the breakfast chef produced a gluten free loaf of bread especially for my toast. When I queried where he had purchased it on the island he told me he makes gluten free bread very successfully from a packet of Orgran bread mix. The only problem for me was that every morning two enormous slices were waiting for me at breakfast!

After the first night’s barbeque by the hotel pool our dinners were held in a variety of interesting places. One evening we had a dinner in Annabelle’s Restaurant in the hotel complex and both courses were beautifully presented and mine – of course – gluten free. The restaurant is a lovely venue with relaxing garden views through huge glass windows.

A tour was on the itinerary every day and if morning or afternoon tea was part of the deal I was always provided with something gluten free to eat. I enjoyed an assortment of gluten free food – the last morning being gluten free crackers, a HUGE tomato (and a knife to cut it) and salt to add flavour.

A progressive dinner allowed us into four beautiful Norfolk Island homes for a short while. The homes – made mostly from the timber of the Norfolk Pine – were all very different. However what they did have in common was the spectacular views! All but the dessert course was gluten free – I was offered a gluten free alternative but by that time of the night I was quite happy to say “No thanks – I couldn’t eat another thing!” The night concluded with an ‘old-fashioned’ sing-along – we were played renditions of familiar songs and invited to join in as we sipped small glasses of sweet sherry!

On another evening we were taken by Les Quintal, a seventh generation descendent of the Bounty mutineer, Matthew Quintal, on a Fish Awas Way (a fish feast). To start the evening we taken to Les’ private cliff top property to share his spectacular views whilst enjoying wine and nibbles – mine of course being gluten free. In the background a woman played traditional Norfolk music and sang songs telling of the island’s history – the music played on an instrument hand-made on Norfolk Island. Before moving off to the next part of the night, the fish feast, a young woman performed some of the traditional dances that reflected the island’s Tahitian heritage and she also spent time explaining the significance of her graceful movements.

The Edible Gardens Tour proved an interesting experience. For the people on the tour it was hard to comprehend that Norfolk Islanders only eat fruit and vegetables grown in season. If the season is poor then fruit and vegetables are in short supply. Last year Norfolk Islanders suffered from drought conditions and their fresh produce was severely affected. Particularly fresh fruit was lacking on the supermarket shelf. However one strapping young gardener explained that because Norfolk Island does not import fresh fruit and vegetables their produce remains relatively pest and chemical free – unlike Australia. The tour finished at Strawberry Fields where the owner, Candida Langman, has created an intricate maze. Some of the more physically able people walked and walked and walked through an intricate maze and – with the help of Candida – managed to find their way to an afternoon tea made from the fruits of Strawberry Fields. As well as providing samples of the fresh fruit she grows, Candida also served polenta topped with her fresh basil pesto – a treat for those on a gluten free diet!

Dinner at Dino’s was another glorious night of gluten free food. I was even provided with two slices of toasted gluten free bread so that I could enjoy the dips set on the table to start the evening. I was assured that all the desserts were gluten free and being partial to licorice I chose the licorice ice cream. I assumed it would be licorice flavoured – however after spotting the small pieces of licorice in the ice cream I did give it a miss. There were two other choices that were gluten free desserts but after the two courses already enjoyed I decided I did not need dessert after all!

Although not of concern for anyone on a gluten free diet, the liqueurs made on the Norfolk Island are well worth a ‘taste’. As part of a Farm and Industry Tour we stopped at Norfolk Island Liqueurs and tasted delights such as Convicts Curse and Pitcairn Passion. There are 15 liqueurs in the range and they are certain to tantalise your taste buds and are only available on Norfolk Island.

However the highlight of the week for me was the Baunti Dieh (Bounty Day) Dinner. Baunti Dieh is traditionally held on 8 June each year to celebrate the arrival of the Pitcairners on Norfolk Island in 1856. To allow us to share some of the experiences of the special day our hosts for the evening, Wally Beadman (a seventh generation descendant of Fletcher Christian) and Nicki Kennedy, a more recent arrival from Australia in 1997, served us four courses, each course reflecting the type of ‘traditional’ foods enjoyed on Bounty Day each year. I could not have asked for more care and attention from Wally and Nicki. One of the hors d’oeuvres served was green banana fritters – spoonfuls of grated and fried green banana proved a delicious, simple, gluten free crunchy treat. Dessert was the only course that was not gluten free and instead I was brought a large bowl of beautiful fragrant rice covered in sweet syrup – much too large for one person but I endeavoured to do my best!

For people residing on the east coast you have a paradise in close proximity! If you come from further afield, it is worth the journey to Norfolk Island. For a week Baunti Tours ensured I was provided with gluten free food without any fuss and always with good humour. If you are reading this you will know how much this is appreciated when on you are on holidays – even eating a small amount of gluten can ruin a few days of a holiday! Baunti Tours made my holiday to Norfolk Island a happy and healthy one!

(Marlene Anderson. Perth. Australia. 14 December 2010)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Round the Island Relay 2010

What a day it was on Sunday for the 2010 'Round the Island Relay'.  Over 50 people participated - some ran the entire course, others walked, some ran and walked, and more were part of a team who shared the load.  And some did it their way .... (see right)

This year the course was from the convict compound at Kingston; to the school via Driver Christian Road; to Prince Phillip Drive via Cascade and CockPit Reserve; through the National Park to Captain Cook Reserve; to Puppy's Point; to 100 Acres; back to Kingston - 25 kilometres all up.

Everyone finished and all enjoyed a cold drink and a sausage sizzle to end a memorable event.

Kingston was magnificent

The winning runner - Alan McNeil