Links between the Isle of Man and Norfolk Island continue to be strengthened after the President of Tynwald, the Hon Clare Christian, was a guest of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly as the territory celebrated its Anniversary Day on June 8th.
The invitation was extended under a cultural agreement established between the two islands in 2011 which was ‘guided by the desire to develop and strengthen friendly relations and to promote interest in the fields of heritage, culture, research, education and media communications between the Isle of Man and Norfolk Island.’
Every June 8th the self-governing territory of Australia celebrates Bounty Day (also known as Anniversary Day) in memory of the arrival in 1856 of the Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the Bounty mutineers led by Fletcher Christian. Central to the proceedings is the re-enactment of the landing of the 194 men, women and children at the capital’s Kingston Pier. Participants dress in period costume, a custom also observed by Madam President thanks to her hosts for the celebrations, the Assembly’s Speaker, Hon David Buffett AM MLA and Minister for Cultural Heritage Hon Robin Adams, JP, MLA. The occasion also provided the opportunity for Madam President to lay a wreath on behalf of the people of the Isle of Man on the cenotaph, where she was joined by the Hon David Buffett and Mrs Leona Young Hermens representing Pitcairn Island, before proceeding to the cemetery where wreaths were placed on ancestors’ graves by descendants of the Pitcairn Islanders.
In her speech Madam President referred to the ‘truly rich tapestries’ of the two islands’ histories which were ‘interwoven through the fortunes of the Bounty mutineers.’ She continued: ‘Our islands share not only those slender but powerful strands of DNA which bind us together but also those characteristics of community pride and resilience which come of being islanders.’
In conclusion she expressed the hope that ‘the seeds of our links which have lain dormant over the decades…may grow from strength to strength until they are as tall and enduring as the Norfolk pine.’
Separately, and in further recognition of the cultural agreement whereby both parties pledge to ‘promote closer links in developing cultural activity’ Norfolk Islander Jodie Williams will be visiting the Isle of Man this September after she was awarded a 2013 Churchill Fellowship. Pitcairn Islander descendant Ms Williams received her Fellowship for her project to research sound heritage, compile recordings and study contemporary audio storytelling methods in the Isle of Man and the UK. In her project submission she set out her aims to ‘trace back the lineage of Norfolk’s sound heritage to its very beginnings’ and ‘strengthen our cultural agreement with the Isle of Man.’