Friday, June 09, 2006


I run the risk of running out of superlatives to describe our 150th Anniversary (Bounty) Day yesterday.
There was an early start getting picnic tables and chairs down to the picnic spot, and getting the cars loaded with the food. There was the usual rush to find the right gear to wear, with some swapping round of shirts etc. Miriam had to make some hurried alterations to her dress, which was too long. We thought we still had plenty of time....until we found the kitchen clock had stopped.
On our arrival at Kingston, we were amazed to see literally hundreds of people in their Bounty gear converging on the pier, and all the laughter and the camaraderie had started already. There were just so many of 'uklun' that I do believe we outnumbered the visitors who had gathered to watch the parade.
I must tell you about an amazing thing that happened just as we left the pier to proceed to the Cenotaph. A humpback whale chose just that moment to frolic around in the waters between Norfolk and Phillip Island. Although whales traditionally pass this way on their way North at this time of year, it is rare to see one so close, and the timing was incredible. Many people felt that it was a good omen for the future of our island!
The parade proceeded a little more slowly than usual, with the enormous numbers. Some of the oldies 'hitched' a ride on Marie's old A-model Ford Tour Bus, others were pushed in wheel chairs, while the very young were in arms, on shoulders, in strollers and even in Pitcairn style wheelbarrows!
After the wreath laying at the Cemetery, we proceeded to Government House where we were able to see all the banners that had been produced by the individual families.
Rolling down the hill after the time at Government House is a well-loved tradition among the children (and even the occasional high-spirited adult), and I believe it is almost a rite of passage when one becomes old enough to do it!!
Back at the Compound, the tables were piled with every sort of good thing to eat, including wonderful Norfolk and Pitcairn traditional dishes. But first, before we sang Grace, there were short speeches from our V.I.P. guest, the Governor-General, and from our Chief Minister, who urged us to be proud of who we are, and to hold fast to our Norfolk Way.
And there would not have been a soul there who did not feel very proud, either to be Bounty descendant, or of having the opportunity to share in this very historic celebration.
While the grown-ups relaxed and let their very bountiful feast settle, the children assembled on the Oval for a lolly drop from the Ultralight plane.
We were well into the packing up, when there was a great cloudburst of rain, but it could not dampen our spirits. The Tahitians, in fact, clustered under a big sun umbrella, and the singing and strumming continued to the very end.

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