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 Norfolk Island
(territory of Australia)
[Country Flag of Norfolk Island]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Norfolk Island]

Norfolk Island


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Background: Two British attempts at establishing the island as a penal colony (1788-1814 and 1825-55) were ultimately abandoned. In 1856, the island was resettled by Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions.


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Location: Oceania, island in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Australia

Geographic coordinates: 29 02 S, 167 57 E

Map references: Oceania

total: 34.6 sq km
land: 34.6 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: about 0.2 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 32 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 3 nm

Climate: subtropical, mild, little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain: volcanic formation with mostly rolling plains

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Bates 319 m

Natural resources: fish

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 25%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 75% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: typhoons (especially May to July)

Environment - current issues: NA


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Population: 1,892 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: NA
15-64 years: NA
65 years and over: NA

Population growth rate: -0.68% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: NA births/1,000 population

Death rate: NA deaths/1,000 population

Net migration rate: NA migrant(s)/1,000 population

Infant mortality rate: NA deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: NA years
male: NA years
female: NA years

Total fertility rate: NA children born/woman

noun: Norfolk Islander(s)
adjective: Norfolk Islander(s)

Ethnic groups: descendants of the Bounty mutineers, Australian, New Zealander, Polynesians

Religions: Anglican 39%, Roman Catholic 11.7%, Uniting Church in Australia 16.4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 4.4%, none 9.2%, unknown 16.9%, other 2.4% (1986)

Languages: English (official), Norfolk a mixture of 18th century English and ancient Tahitian


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Country name:
conventional long form: Territory of Norfolk Island
conventional short form: Norfolk Island

Data code: NF

Dependency status: territory of Australia; Canberra administers Commonwealth responsibilities on Norfolk Island through the Department of Environment, Sport and Territories

Government type: NA

Capital: Kingston

Administrative divisions: none (territory of Australia)

Independence: none (territory of Australia)

National holiday: Pitcairners Arrival Day Anniversary, 8 June (1856)

Constitution: Norfolk Island Act of 1979

Legal system: based on the laws of Australia, local ordinances and acts; English common law applies in matters not covered by either Australian or Norfolk Island law

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); the UK and Australia are represented by Administrator A. J. MESSNER (since 4 August 1997)
head of government: Assembly President and Chief Minister George Charles SMITH (since 30 April 1997)
cabinet: Executive Council is made up of four of the nine members of the Legislative Assembly; the council devises government policy and acts as an advisor to the Administrator
elections: the monarch is hereditary; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia; chief minister elected by the Legislative Assembly for a term of not more than three years; election last held 30 April 1997 (next to be held by May 2000)
election results: George Charles SMITH elected chief minister; percent of Legislative Assembly vote - NA

Legislative branch: unicameral Legislative Assembly (9 seats; members elected by electors who have nine equal votes each but only four votes can be given to any one candidate; members serve three-year terms)
elections: last held 30 April 1997 (next to be held by May 2000)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 9

Judicial branch: Supreme Court; Court of Petty Sessions

Political parties and leaders: none

International organization participation: none

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (territory of Australia)

Diplomatic representation from the US: none (territory of Australia)

Flag description: three vertical bands of green (hoist side), white, and green with a large green Norfolk Island pine tree centered in the slightly wider white band


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Economy - overview: Tourism, the primary economic activity, has steadily increased over the years and has brought a level of prosperity unusual among inhabitants of the Pacific islands. The agricultural sector has become self-sufficient in the production of beef, poultry, and eggs.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $NA

GDP - real growth rate: NA%

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $NA

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): NA%

Labor force: 1,395 (1991 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: tourism NA%, subsistence agriculture NA%

Unemployment rate: NA%

revenues: $4.6 million
expenditures: $4.8 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY92/93)

Industries: tourism

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: NA kWh

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: NA%
hydro: NA%
nuclear: NA%
other: NA%

Electricity - consumption: NA kWh

Electricity - exports: NA kWh

Electricity - imports: NA kWh

Agriculture - products: Norfolk Island pine seed, Kentia palm seed, cereals, vegetables, fruit; cattle, poultry

Exports: $1.5 million (f.o.b., FY91/92)

Exports - commodities: postage stamps, seeds of the Norfolk Island pine and Kentia palm, small quantities of avocados

Exports - partners: Australia, other Pacific island countries, NZ, Asia, Europe

Imports: $17.9 million (c.i.f., FY91/92)

Imports - commodities: NA

Imports - partners: Australia, other Pacific island countries, NZ, Asia, Europe

Debt - external: $NA

Economic aid - recipient: $NA

Currency: 1 Australian dollar ($A) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Australian dollars ($A) per US$1 - 1.5207 (January 2000), 1.5497 (1999), 1.5888 (1998), 1.3439 (1997), 1.2773 (1996), 1.3486 (1995)

Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June


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Telephones - main lines in use: 1,087 (1983)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 0 (1983)

Telephone system:
domestic: NA
international: radiotelephone service with Sydney (Australia)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 0, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios: 2,500 (1996)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (local programming station plus two repeaters that bring in Australian programs by satellite) (1998)

Televisions: 1,200 (1996)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): NA


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Railways: 0 km

total: 80 km
paved: 53 km
unpaved: 27 km

Ports and harbors: none; loading jetties at Kingston and Cascade

Merchant marine: none (1999 est.)

Airports: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (1999 est.)


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Military - note: defense is the responsibility of Australia

Transnational Issues

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Disputes - international: none

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