Joint stamp issue of Australia and Norfolk Island featuring endemic Norfolk Island Pine

July 19th, 2014

Norfolk Island is a small island in the Pacific Ocean some 1,400 kilometres east of the Australian mainland. The first European known to have sighted the island was Captain James Cook, in 1774, on his second voyage to the South Pacific on HMS Resolution. He named it after Mary Howard, Duchess of Norfolk.

Originally settled by Polynesians, the island was colonized by Great Britain in 1788 and subsequently used as a British penal colony. In 1856 the inhabitants of the overcrowded Pitcairn Island, including many of the descendants of the original Bounty mutineers, were resettled on Norfolk Island.

In 1914 Norfolk Island was proclaimed an external territory of the Commonwealth of Australia. The territory enjoys a substantial degree of self-government, and since 1947 has been responsible for its own postal service and postage stamps.

This joint stamp issue features the endemic Norfolk Island Pine, Araucaria heterophylla; a symbol of the island. The Norfolk Island Pine is also widely grown in Australia, particularly in coastal regions, as an ornamental tree. The $1.40 stamp design shows the Old Military Barracks at Kingston on Norfolk Island, built in 1832 during the Second Settlement (1825–1855) and now home to the island’s Legislative Assembly. Norfolk Island Pines on Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia are featured in the base-rate 70c design. In 2009 Lonely Planet named Cottesloe Beach the world’s second best beach for families.