Convict Culture Week on Norfolk Island

19 May 2023 – 27 May 2023

Celebrating Maconochie’s Frolic

For one day in 1840 the convicts on Norfolk Island were encouraged to dance, sing and play.  On 25 May they celebrated the birthday of the young Queen Victoria in a remarkable day when there was no crime or punishment, only rejoicing. News of this event caused such an uproar in Sydney and London that Commandant Maconochie was officially reprimanded by the Governor and roundly criticised in the press.

Join us for a week to explore convict culture with workshops, talks, dance, music and song whilst enjoying tours, walks and fine dining around the island. The focus is on participation, so bring your dancing shoes, musical instruments, and voices!

Convict Culture Week is run in conjunction with the exhibition Dancing in Fetters: the culture of convict dance at the Norfolk Island Museum from April to August 2023.  The national tour of this exhibition is funded by Visions of Australia and partnered by Bush Traditions and the Abbey Museum.

The programme includes:

  • Dances, dance workshops and Curator’s talk with Dr Heather Blasdale Clarke
  • Music sessions with Roland & Isabel Clarke, John Tomlin and Trish Williams
  • ‘Convict Songs of the Second Settlement’ and singing sessions with Don and Sue Brian
  • Talk by Robert Wills, author of Alias Blind Larry, and editor of The Castle Andalusia … as performed by convicts on Norfolk Island in 1840.
  • And much more!

Bookings at Norfolk Island Travel Centre

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