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Smut, a fungal disease of grain crops, was also badly affecting their crops by 1819.Declining crop yields followed the completion of the compensation arrangements, and combined with lingering resentment at their forced deportation from Norfolk Island saw some of the Islanders sink into a melancholic despair marked by drunkenness and neglect of their properties.Macquarie had no such affinities, and he placed Lieutenant Tankerville Crane of his own 73 Regiment in charge of the island with orders to let the buildings and public works run down and to entice the islanders to leave.The last of the Islanders were not willing emigrants.Remembering the Deportations of the Norfolk Islanders to a Lost World in the South The name ‘Norfolk’ is a prominent feature of the Tasmanian landscape.Norfolk Bay in the south east and Mt Norfolk on the west coast were named by Matthew Flinders in 1798 when he circumnavigated Van Diemen’s Land in his Norfolk Island-built sloop “Norfolk”.These reasons have been given to explain the apparent failure of the islanders to make a success of life on the Norfolk Plains.The islanders were encouraged to grow wheat, which they did and initially received good prices, but the practice of continual cultivation without resting the land that was undertaken on Norfolk Island and in Britain lead by the early 1820s to declining soil fertility.
Contemporary observers such as Commissioner Bigge, and some later writers, have blamed the islanders for their failure to thrive and prosper at Norfolk Plains.
The Islanders found that the compensation was not always available or not always adequate, and often sought a more generous settlement.
However, by the time they realized this they had already been relocated to their new farms, and found they had little bargaining power.
Perhaps most damning of all, it has been claimed, their convict origins meant they lacked vigour and prudence and instead favoured a life of “indulgent idleness”.
They continued to associate with other ex-convicts, and the new values required for success on the frontier were stifled.
He named the plains the Norfolk Plains, clearly intending to entice the Norfolk Islanders to this new home.