Monday, February 1st, 2016

We have had wonderful news from Don and Sue Brian, the presenters of ‘Norfolk Island Folk History’ - an event that presents Norfolk Island’s history via their unique research into the music, poetry and story-telling of our convict, whaling and Bounty histories. They have told us that while recently travelling and researching in London, Don un-earthed four previously un-known songs that were written by convicts on Norfolk Island and recorded in diaries at the time. While we won’t reveal here details of the songs themselves, we can tell you that one was written by a Convict Overseer as he departed the island.

An additional ‘goose bump factor’ around the finding of the songs, is that they will have their first ever performance during the Folk History week on Norfolk Island from 5-13 August this year.

An accomplished folk musician and poet, Don’s convict and whaling research spotlights the richness of the personal and everyday lives of the convicts, soldiers and whalers of our past. He has been exploring his linked passions for history and folklore for over 40 years and sings and plays traditional folksongs, sea songs and shanties with the traditional shanty group, The Roaring Forties and The Southern Cross Trawlers. After spending five years living on Norfolk Island, Don has had a particular interest in collecting the folklore, stories, songs and poems of the Islanders from the convict settlers to the present day. 

Together with Sue, they have researched the influence of the whaling industry and the American ship-based whalers on Norfolk’s heritage, and will recount some of the lesser known stories they unearthed. While living on Norfolk, Sue became involved in the research and conservation of the Museum’s artefacts which range from the 1788 convict settlement, to artefacts from the mutiny on the Bounty, and arrival of the Pitcairn Islanders. She developed a passion for learning traditional skills in hat-making which she was taught by the Island’s hat makers and has extended this into a study of cabbage-tree hat making in Australia.

This week will be of special appeal to those who hanker to delve deep, inquire and discover the stories of a place. With an incredibly rich and complex history the tantalising stories of the people who either happily or with a sense of dread came to call past, or call Norfolk Island home are rarely discovered. Throughout the week’s presentations, tours and demonstrations there will be much music and poetry that will all come together for a final fabulous Sea Shanties night.

Packages to Norfolk Island Folk History start at $1439 pp twin share ex Brisbane and $1489 ex Sydney and include airfare, accommodation, car hire, all presentations (including 2 dinners) by Don and Sue and much more. Contact Debbie Steven for a full information pack at [email protected] or by freecall from Australia 1800 1400 66  or see our web site at

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Norfolk Island Travel Centre

Norfolk Island Travel Centre is an award winning travel agency that specialises in quality, personalised travel. Norfolk has a unique beauty of its own, with its renowned tall majestic pines, sheer cliff faces, coral reefs and beautiful beaches. Almost one third of the island is devoted to National Parks and Reserves. But Norfolk Island is far more than a picturesque island in the South Pacific, it is paradise with a past. What was once a convicts’ nightmare is now the tranquil home of the descendants from the Mutiny on the Bounty, who have their own unique culture and their own language. There is much to see and do on Norfolk Island: fascinating historic tours, see Kingston which is a World Heritage Listed area,outdoor re-enactments of the Bounty Mutiny (with parts played by actual descendants of Fletcher Christian), ‘Light and Sound’ shows, eco-tours, glass bottom boat coral reef trips, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, dining out in the numerous fine restaurants, bush walking, scenic horse riding, golf on what has been called the world’s most beautiful golf course, bowls, tennis, and squash. Take advantage of Norfolk's tax-free shopping or perhaps simply take some time out to relax and enjoy Norfolk's peaceful existence.

Rebecca Christian, Norfolk Island Travel Centre
P: AU 1800 1400 66 or NZ 0800 0088 10
M: -

Norfolk Island Travel Centre

Debbie Steven
P: AU 1800 1400 66 or NZ 0800 0088 10


Folk History, convict written songs, Norfolk Island




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