The Thornton Mysteries Book 4

 

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Kingston, Norfolk Island. The houses in Quality Row and the ruins of the Penal Settlement in the distance.                                                                                                              Photo by Ellen Read

 

While my third book in the Thornton Mysteries series is resting, I’m researching my fourth book in the series.

It’s set on Norfolk Island, which is a small island off the coast of Australia.

Norfolk Island and Pitcairn Island formed at same time when the peaks of two massive volcanoes thrust up from the ocean floor 6,000 kilometres apart. Both stood virtually uninhabited for 3 million years.

Then, in the late eighteenth century, Norfolk became the site of a Penal Settlement and Pitcairn became the hiding place for Fletcher Christian’s mutineers.

The British Penal Settlement on Norfolk was the most depraved and cruel of all penal settlements, even worse than Tasmania’s. The beautiful island became known as a hell on earth.

The similarities between the islands, doesn’t stop there. In 1855, when Pitcairn could know longer support its population, Queen Victoria offered them Norfolk. On 8th July 1856, the entire population of Pitcairn sailed to Norfolk Island. 

The descendants of the Bounty’s mutineers found Norfolk a paradise, with its deep blue seas and mild climate. Even though at times, those seas became treacherous. The Sirius, the flag ship of the First Fleet, met its end on the rocks of Norfolk Island.

I visited Norfolk Island this year and saw their paradise. Visitor numbers are restricted, the top speed limit is 40 km per hour, all animals have right-of-way, and you may not get good wifi. I didn’t miss it at all during the week there.

The Thorntons in my book visit Norfolk in early 1929. They find a paradise, too, although Alexandra is sure she can hear the ghosts of the convicts in the ruins at Kingston, and murder is just around the corner.

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Norfolk Island Pines. Nepean and Phillip Island off-shore.        Photo by Ellen Read. 

 

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