Norfolk Island is an island in the Pacific ocean fairly near Australia, and one of Australia's few external territories. The island is 34km square. The Norfolk Island pine, also pictured in the flag, is a very striking pine tree that originates from the island and is quite popular in Australia.
The British established their first penal colony on the island (1788-1814) to prevent the island falling into French hands. This colony was abandoned, as it failed to be self-supporting. A second penal colony was set-up 1825 and lasted until 1855. Its purpose was one of incarceration of hardened criminals. It is said that convicts went to the gallows glad to be released from the Hell on Earth that was Norfolk Island.
From the CIA World Factbook 2000. Not Wikified.