Discovery of Norfolk IslandPrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by Graeme Saunders

The plaque commemorates the discovery of Norfolk Island by Captain James Cook in October 1774.

Early in 1774, in London, Captain James Cook sat at dinner on the eve of his second voyage into the southern hemisphere to try to find the ‘Great South Land’. Next to him sat the Duchess of Norfolk who said, “If you find a small isle would you name it after me?”

Later that year Cook on HMS Resolution stood south from New Caledonia bound for New Zealand. On the morning of 10 October 1774 the ship brought up an emerald isle; a “Paradise” as Cook described it, which he promptly took in the name of the British Crown and called Norfolk Isle.

Cook landed on the north-west corner of the uninhabited island and spent the morning ashore. Cook was impressed by the sight of the tall pine trees which covered the island and the flax which grew in the undergrowth. Ever the naval officer, he immediately thought of masts and cordage for the Royal Navy. Here was a prized possession indeed! Cook’s other brief observations led him to believe that he and his party were the first humans to sight the island. (It was later shown, however, to have had much earlier Polynesian habitation)

Cook sailed on to the south noting two adjacent smaller islands (later named Nepean and Phillip)–making up the Norfolk group.

Note: There's evidence near to Emily Bay of a Polynesian settlement estimated to have existed between 650 and 1000 years ago. Explorer Captain Cook discovered the island on his second voyage into the southern hemisphere on 10 October 1774, and there were no inhabitants when he landed.




Address:Quality Row, Administration Building, Norfolk Island, 2899
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -29.055325
Long: 167.958301
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Landscape
Actual Event Start Date:10-October-1774
Actual Event End Date:10-October-1774


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 12th October, 1974
Front Inscription

This Plaque Commemorates The
Discovery Of Norfolk Island On 10 October 
1774 By Captain James Cook, R.N., F.R.S., In The 
"Resolution" During His Second Voyage
Around The World.

Unveiled On 12 October 1974
The Honourable E. G. Whitlam, Q.C., M.P., 
Prime Minister Of Australia
During The Bi-Centenary Celebrations
           In 1974.


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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