Norfolk Island is South Pacific paradise, abundant with natural beauty, a fascinating history, a diverse range of activities and lots of character. Only a 2.5 hr flight from Australia or 2 hr from New Zealand, it is an idyllic sub tropical island of 3455 hectares and 5 x 8 kilometres offering the perfect escape from a demanding world.
For more information about Norfolk Island, head to the Norfolk Island Tourism website.
Pacific Peace 2020 is an initiative of The Norfolk Island RSL Sub-Branch and the community of Norfolk Island in association with the Norfolk Island Regional Council (NIRC), and the Commonwealth of Australia to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII in the Pacific and Norfolk Island's significant contribution to the war effort.
A community celebration will be held from 8-15 August 2020 to celebrate 75 years of peace in the Pacific.
Norfolk Island contributed greatly to the world war efforts with the highest per capita personnel involvement in the Commonwealth nations of the world for both WWI and WWII.
The island was a key contributor as a forward base for aircraft and the New Zealand Army, as one of the links in the supply chain to activities happening further north, and also as a hub for radio and radar transmissions to assist the allies with primary intelligence on ship locations, movements and strategies.
On 1 September 1939 Britain and France declared war on Germany who had invaded Poland, Australia and New Zealand immediately followed suit in support of Britain. Norfolk Island's population at the time was only 983 people – 513 males and 470 females. Some 280 men and women from Norfolk Island volunteered and joined Australian and New Zealand forces during WWII. Life was to change dramatically for the islanders with the arrival of servicemen from Australia, New Zealand and the US, eventually more than doubling the population.
The Norfolk Island Infantry Detachment (NIID) was created on 14 September 1939 and became a training facility for overseas service by islanders as well as home security, protecting the all-important cable station linking New Zealand and Australia.
Another huge change for the island brought about by WWII was the construction of an airfield which was completed and operational on 25 December 1942 when he first New Zealand Air Force plane landed on Norfolk Island’s new runway. The island became a key airbase and refuelling depot between Australia and New Zealand, and New Zealand and the Solomon Islands Prior to the construction of the airfield, transport of personnel and supplies to Norfolk Island was possible only by ship.
Due to the Japanese agreeing to surrender on the 14/15 August 1945, and the war in the Pacific officially ending on 2 September 1945, with the signing of the formal surrender onboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay Japan, it was agreed that the island's defences be maintained by the RNZAF until July 1946.
You can find information about the Norfolk Islanders who served in both WWI and WWII at the Norfolk Island War Memoral
There is a great overview of Norfolk Island's involvement in WWII at the New Zealand Electronic Text Collection
Photos of the Norfolk Island Aerodrome Construction can be found at NSW State Archives & Records