Credit : BobbyZeeNash – Zach Sanders & Emily Ryves
Credit : Norfolk Island Tourism

Bounty Day is a significant annual event that takes place in Australia, specifically on Norfolk Island. The day is also known as Anniversary Day or Foundation Day on the island. Bounty Day is commemorated on June 8th every year and marks the arrival of the descendants of the HMS Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions to Norfolk Island in 1856.

Bounty Day’s origins can be traced back to a historical event that occurred on April 28, 1789, when the crew of the HMS Bounty, led by Fletcher Christian, mutinied against their captain, William Bligh. The mutineers eventually settled on Pitcairn Island, where they began a new life with their Tahitian companions. Over time, the population on Pitcairn Island outgrew the available resources, and the British government decided to relocate the descendants of the mutineers to Norfolk Island. On June 8, 1856, a group of 194 people arrived on Norfolk Island, marking the beginning of the Bounty Day tradition.

While Bounty Day is specific to Norfolk Island, the event has become known and celebrated throughout Australia. Australians on the mainland may recognize the day by learning about the island’s unique history, exploring its culture, and celebrating the resilience of the Bounty descendants. On Norfolk Island, the day is a public holiday, and various activities are organized to mark the occasion.

On Norfolk Island, Bounty Day is a major event that brings the community together in celebration. The day begins with a re-enactment of the landing of the Pitcairn Islanders on Norfolk Island. Participants, dressed in period costumes, disembark from boats and make their way onto the island. Following the re-enactment, a procession takes place, with the descendants of the Bounty mutineers proudly displaying their family crests and banners.

A significant custom during Bounty Day is the decoration of gravestones in the island’s cemeteries. Families gather to clean and adorn the graves of their ancestors with colourful flowers and wreaths, paying respect to their heritage and remembering those who came before them.

Throughout the day, various events are held, including sports competitions, picnics, and live music performances. Traditional food and drink are also an essential part of the celebrations, with locals sharing their favourite recipes and dishes.

Bounty Day is a unique event that holds great importance for the people of Norfolk Island in Australia. The day serves as a reminder of the island’s rich history and the resilience of the descendants of the HMS Bounty mutineers. The customs and traditions associated with Bounty Day not only honour the past but also help to bring the community together in celebration of their shared heritage.

Credit : Julian Crawford
Bounty Day Early 1970’s – With permission Mike Perkins / Maree Smith

Credits :

Norfolk Island Tourism

Ken Duncan

Mike Perkins / Maree Smith