In 1856, a community of close to 200 persons sailed for Norfolk after their tiny island of Pitcairn became unable to support them. Having pleaded Queen Victoria for help, the Empire generously agreed to allow them to Norfolk. Sailing 3,700 miles, the entire crew aboard the ship were terribly seasick for the whole 5 weeks of transit until they arrived on Norfolk Island on June 8th. Although this land and everything in it seemed strange to the newcomers, they gradually adapted to their new surroundings.
When Governor Sir William Dennison reminded the newcomers that they were indebted to New South Wales, they maintained that the only condition of their abandoning Pitcairn was that Norfolk would be surrendered to them. Unable to agree, 17 members of this community left Norfolk just 18 months after they had arrived, sailing the 3,700 miles back to Pitcairn. Having been living as one family for 60 years, this separation was difficult.
Over the years, farming sustained Norfolk Island and many attempts were made to export produce however in 1849, whaling became the main income earner for the island and remained so for a century. By 1920, the Melanesian Mission closed down and left their one sixth of the island after 50 years in the church of St Barnabas. By the time WWII was in full swing, an air strip had been built and this helped to completely revolutionise the island's economy. Soon, Norfolk Island's mainstay was its tourism industry and this has remained until the present day.