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Originally settled by East Polynesians, Norfolk Island was colonised by Great Britain as part of its settlement of 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. 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.