Government House Charity Open Days

 

Credit : Guru Productions

The Story of Norfolk Island’s Government House

Preserving History:

In the heart of Norfolk Island, where the tranquil waters of the South Pacific Ocean kiss the shores, lies an enduring testament to the island’s rich history and the resilience of its people. Government House, a grand structure with a past as intriguing as the island itself, stands proudly as one of Australia’s earliest Government House buildings. Let’s take you on a journey through time, exploring the storied history and contemporary significance of this remarkable architectural treasure.

Early Days of Government House

The first and second Government Houses on Norfolk Island were located near Kingston Pier at a place known as the Landing Place. These humble beginnings were not destined to last long, as in 1803, a decision was made to build a new Government House on Doves Plot at Chimney Hill. This historic site is the present-day location of Government House. The building, unfortunately, met its fiery end in 1814 during the First Settlement.

Resurrection and Reinvention

The Second Settlement of Norfolk Island brought with it the need for a new Government House, and construction commenced in 1828, concluding in 1829. Verandas were added in 1833, adding a touch of elegance to the sturdy structure. The building expanded over time, adapting to various purposes and challenges.

Fortifications and Survival

Government House was built to withstand potential attacks from convicts, boasting walls a remarkable 60 centimeter’s thick. Iron bars and sturdy shutters shielded the windows, and cannons guarded the entrance, reflecting the turbulent times of the island’s history.

Evolution and Adaptation

Once equipped with stables, a piggery, a dairy, and a chicken house, Government House saw a series of transformations over the years. It served as a school, a doctor’s residence, and the home of the Chief Magistrate before finally becoming the Administrator’s residence in 1913.

Government House Today

Today, Government House retains its historical significance. It remains the home of the Administrator, serving as the backdrop for official dinners and hosting important visitors to the island. Open Days are a cherished tradition, allowing the public to explore this remarkable piece of history, while also contributing to local charities.

Charity Open Day Program

Norfolk Island’s historic Government House – built in 1829 and handsomely restored – is generally not open to the public. However, on a number of occasions each year, its formal rooms are open for the afternoon – 1.00 pm to 3.30 pm – for public inspection.

This is to allow opportunities for people to visit and gain an appreciation of Government House’s place in the rich history of Norfolk Island as well as to raise funds for Norfolk Island’s volunteer charity and service organizations.

The Government House Open Day program is subject to the possibility that scheduled Open Days may be cancelled or changed at short notice because of operational requirements or bad weather such as when it is wet or windy. Visitors must be advised of this fact.

Social distancing practices will apply to all open days.

The Government House Open Day Program will be reviewed in the last quarter of 2024.

The program for community organizations which will benefit from the entry charge of $20 per adult (children under 15 years of age, and accompanied by an adult, are free) is as follows:

Wednesday 24th April                               Royal NI Agricultural &Horticultural Society              

Wednesday  15th May                               Lions Club of Arthurs Vale

Wednesday 5th June                                  Boomerang Bags/NI Flora and Fauna Society

Wednesday 10th July                                  Alice Buffett Breast Screening Trust

Wednesday 21st August                             NI Pony Club & Equestrian Association

Wednesday 18th September                      Army Cadet Unit NI

Wednesday 16th October                          Red Cross Branch of NI

Wednesday 6th November                        NI Hospital Auxiliary                      

Wednesday 20th November                      Mental Health Awareness Group

Wednesday 11th December                      NI Mens Shed

Kingston Sites of Interest Map 1- 46 ( PDF )

Download Link here : https://kingston.norfolkisland.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/kavha_visitors_map.pdf

Collect a printed version of the map from the Pier Store Museum

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