Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Norfolk Island Lighters 2015

Norfolk Islander's continue the traditional methods for unloading freight from cargo ships.  The island has no 'safe harbour', there are two jetties on opposite sides of the island for the cargo to be landed.  The 'lighterage' method involves a lighter towed by a motor launch to ferry the goods between ship and shore.  A derrick crane and nets are used to lift and move the cargo in and out of the lighters. 

Sea freight was the only method of importing items to Norfolk Island until the building of the airport by American and New Zealand servicemen in 1945. Commercial flights began in 1947 and the opportunity to import items by air freight shortly thereafter, but to this day over 90% of imported goods are transported by two cargo ships which visit the island on a once every five week schedule.

In the early hours of Saturday morning 11 May 2013 a senseless act of vandalism happened on  Cascade Pier when lighter No.1 was deliberately set on fire. Not only was the lighter completely destroyed but also the island’s supply of cargo nets and the spreader beams used for transporting cars and trucks on the lighters when they were lashed together for this purpose.


The long awaited decision was finally given for work to commence on the building of a replacement lighter. Work began immediately by John Christian-Bailey of JCB and Dean Burrell, an experienced boat builder, under the watchful eye of the Lighterage Manager, Glen Williams.

In its lifetime, a lighter earns approximately $2.2 million in revenue for the island and carries approximately 30,000 tonnes. It takes four months to build from start to finish, 4,000 thousand copper nails to hold it together and is in use for up to twenty years. It is a practical object; a work of art and a legacy to the men who are building it. 

Peter Horrocks, of the Museum Trust, moved that the building of the lighter be photographically recorded for inclusion in the Norfolk Island Museum Collection.

Janelle Blucher, A/g Director Curator and Gaye Evans, Asst. Curator/Conservation Officer visited the Lighterage Maintenance Depot at Middlegate and spoke with the Manager of Lighterage, Glen ‘Snoop’ Williams and Dean Burrell, local shipbuilder. The frames hang vertically from the ceiling until such time as they are needed.

The plank for the keel has been carefully chosen and placed into position.

Work on the bowstem has commenced. This must be strong enough to endure the years of toil the lighter will give to the Island whilst ferrying cargo.

 Regular posts on the building of the lighter will be uploaded to this blog.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Bounty Adventure

Janelle Blucher, Acting Curator of the Norfolk Island Museum is delighted to be a part of The Bounty Adventure Cruise experience on P & O’s cruise liner, Pacific Pearl. 
Pacific Pearl and The Bounty Adventure Cruise
P & O's Pacific Pearl on The Bounty Adventure Cruise

This is a fantastic opportunity to promote the Norfolk Island Museum and our Island’s heritage and culture. After two days sailing the liner sailed into Norfolk Island on Sunday morning 11 October and a welcome sight to see the passengers disembarking at Cascade. A special day on Norfolk was enjoyed by passengers and islanders alike. 

The Norfolk Island Museum's Kingston Heritage Walk with Jeanine Snell... they just didn't want it to finish
The Norfolk Island Museum's Kingston Heritage Walk with Jeanine Snell... they just didn't want it to finish

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Documenting, Researching and Conserving Pitcairn Island’s Material Culture

The Pacific Development and Conservation Trust of New Zealand have confirmed their most generous financial support for our project titled “Documenting, Researching and Conserving Pitcairn Island’s Material Culture”.   
The Pacific Development and Conservation Trust (PDCT) was established by Trust Deed by the New Zealand Government on 23 May 1989. The money for the Trust was received from the French Government in recognition of events surrounding the destruction of the Rainbow Warrior vessel in 1985.  Some of us might recall Norfolk Island’s connection to this incident with the vessel Ouvea arriving at Norfolk Island after smuggling explosives and other gear into New Zealand.  Thirty years has passed since the explosion of the Greenpeace vessel that tragically killed photographer Fernando Pereira, just earlier this month the French secret-service agent who led the attack made a public apology for his actions.
We at the Norfolk Island Museum are extremely pleased and excited to be provided with the financial resource to pursue this project. The aim of our project is to locate, document and provide conservation advice on Pitcairn Island’s material culture that is held with the communities on Norfolk Island and New Zealand.  
Kettle from the HMS Bounty
'Bounty' kettle
The permanent population on Pitcairn Island has been decreasing rapidly in recent times with the islanders migrating mainly to New Zealand.  The cultural material is leaving the island along with the people putting the provenance of the material at risk and creating potential for these objects to be lost.
This is a two stage project.  Stage 1 is to identify and document Pitcairn Island’s cultural material located in New Zealand and Norfolk Island while Stage 2 will focus on Pitcairn itself.  This initial successful grant is to facilitate stage 1.
The need for this project has been identified through feedback from Norfolk Islanders visiting Pitcairn Island, and also by our relationship with the Pitcairn Island Museum, whom have little resources to undertake this type of project themselves.
This project is fundamental to the protection of Pitcairn Island’s material culture.  No previous projects have provided for such a holistic approach to ensure material is identified and documented. This project also explicitly acknowledges that there is a distinct Pitcairner culture created through the historical circumstances of its 18th century establishment by Polynesian and European forebears:  its development on Pitcairn and later Norfolk Island. Today, these objects are an important part of this heritage.  

Cannon from the HMS Bounty
'Bounty' cannon
 Documentation of this material and associated knowledge about its cultural contexts, uses and significance will form a focus for future community interest in its material and cultural heritage, as well as provide a body of material for researchers – wherever they may reside, through physical and digital access.  And what a valuable gift this will be to the future generations of Pitcairn and Norfolk Islanders.
Individuals will be given the opportunity to tell their stories about life on Pitcairn Island.  They will have the opportunity to have these stories recorded for themselves and their families. Participants can showcase their material culture and connections to Pitcairn Island.  Basic conservation advice will be provided to ensure the objects remain in good condition, objects will be photographed and their history recorded.  This information will form a comprehensive database.   The Norfolk Island Museum will be the repository and access point of this data base of material, information and research enabling full and direct access to the community. 
The Pitcairn and Norfolk Island culture is intrinsically interwoven; this project is imperative to protect our shared heritage and culture.  It also offers a fantastic opportunity to develop research, learning and curatorial outcomes.  
We’ll keep you posted, in the meantime please contact us at the Norfolk Island Museum - your knowledge and ideas are important!

Janelle Blucher