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Norfolk Island is a small island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia (France), 1,412 kilometres (877 mi) directly east of mainland Evans Head, and about 900 kilometres (560 mi) from Lord Howe Island. The island is part of the Commonwealth of Australia, but it enjoys a large degree of self-governance. Together with two neighbouring islands, it forms one of Australia's external territories.Originally settled by East Polynesians, Norfolk Island was colonised by Great Britain as part of its settlement in Australia in 1788. The island served as a convict penal settlement until May 1855, except for an 11-year hiatus between 1814 and 1825, when it was abandoned. In 1856 permanent civilian residence on the island began when it was settled from Pitcairn. In 1901, the island became a part of the Commonwealth of Australia which it has remained until this day.The evergreen Norfolk Island pine is a symbol of the island and thus pictured on its flag (see illustration). Native to the island, the pine is a key export industry for Norfolk Island, being a popular ornamental tree on mainland Australia, where two related species grow, and also in Europe.