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They claimed that the island’s rich soil and gentle climate, easy access to government stores, failure to learn new technical skills, and lack of Aboriginal resistance had made them lazy settlers.
They failed to invest their compensation into improving their new properties, and came to rely upon hunting rather than farming to supplement their government rations.
He named the plains the Norfolk Plains, clearly intending to entice the Norfolk Islanders to this new home.
The very name Norfolk Plains conjured up an image of abundance and plenty with a reassuring touch of homeliness.
Declining crop yields followed the completion of the compensation arrangements, and combined with lingering resentment at their forced deportation from Norfolk Island saw some of the Islanders sink into a melancholic despair marked by drunkenness and neglect of their properties.Perhaps most damning of all, it has been claimed, their convict origins meant they lacked vigour and prudence and instead favoured a life of “indulgent idleness”.They continued to associate with other ex-convicts, and the new values required for success on the frontier were stifled.These reasons have been given to explain the apparent failure of the islanders to make a success of life on the Norfolk Plains.
The islanders were encouraged to grow wheat, which they did and initially received good prices, but the practice of continual cultivation without resting the land that was undertaken on Norfolk Island and in Britain lead by the early 1820s to declining soil fertility.
Norfolk Island was settled in 1788, abandoned in 1814 and then re-settled in 1825.