An Uneasy Relationship: Norfolk Island and the Commonwealth by Maev O'Collins

By Maev O'Collins

The location of Norfolk Island, as a territory of the Commonwealth of Australia, is likely one of the historic anomalies in governance, which has persevered due to the fact 1914. It displays the direct historic linkages among the British Crown and people Norfolk Islanders who have been descendants of Pitcairn Islanders of Mutiny at the Bounty status. but, as soon as Federation used to be within the wind, the British executive, opposed to the expressed needs of the Norfolk Island group, sought to divest itself of all accountability for Norfolk Island. there's a interestingly ‘Yes Minister’ caliber in regards to the negotiations which bring about the ultimate take-over by way of Australia, and the appointment of the 1st Commonwealth Administrator of Norfolk Island. The direct involvement of Atlee Hunt, then Secretary of the dep. of exterior Affairs, ultimately ensured the appointment of Michael Vincent Murphy. with a purpose to do so finish, Hunt needed to fend off different candidates who have been busy ingratiating themselves with the Minister for exterior Affairs Patrick McMahon Glynn and the then top Minister Joseph prepare dinner. this can be basically a examine of the relationships among governors, politicians, public servants and neighborhood leaders in the course of the years which the take-over of Norfolk Island, and of the fight of 1 Norfolk Islander, Charles Chase Ray Nobbs, opposed to Australian administrative authority.

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M. Nobbs, reported on the conditions and tenancy arrangements of all relevant buildings. Discussions with individual residents proceeded, with increasing dissatisfaction being expressed that the rights of the Islanders were being ignored. Attitudes hardened on both sides. The Governor of New South Wales demanded decisive action, and Murphy, now Officer in Charge of Norfolk Island Affairs, was the man in the 22 he ew outh ales nterregnum middle. In a report dated 20 February 1907, he described the background to a complaint from two local whaling companies who had refused to pay rent for the boat sheds they occupied, and were equally vehemently refusing to vacate the premises [See Appendix 5].

British Parliamentary Papers. 18 ‘Norfolk Island — Correspondence relating to the Transfer of Norfolk Island to the Government of New South Wales, Presented to Parliament by Command of her Majesty, February 1897 No 20, British Parliamentary Papers. 19 Alfred McFarland, ‘The Case of Norfolk Island Stated’, Sydney, Gibbs, Shallard & Co, Printers, pamphlet, 1885. 20 NAA: CP697/38 Bundle 1, ‘Parliamentary questions and Answers Norfolk Island’. 21 Ibid. 22 British Parliamentary Debates Fourth Series, Volume 37:1488–1489.

He endeavoured to disabuse their minds of the idea that they have any absolute claim to the proprietorship of the island, and read for them the order by which the Governor for the time being is empowered to grant or sell land to whomsoever he pleases. He deprecated the way in which the land is allowed to go to ruin, and intimated that he would issue no more grants till he had communicated with the Imperial Government on the subject. 17 After spending five months on the Island, Wilkinson’s final assessment was that a complete overhaul of the Island’s administration, and a revamped system of law enforcement, were urgently needed.

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