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History of Government and Laws: Footnotes

“The Development of the System of Government and Laws of Pitcairn Island From 1791 to 1971"
Printed in and taken from Laws of Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, Rev. Ed., 1971
By Donald McLoughlin, B.A., LL.B.

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(2) See Cowell for a more detailed account.

(3) Maude I, pp. 45-6. There is also the possibility that Pitcairn was in fact first discovered by Pedro Fernandez de Quirus in January 1606, and to be the island named by him to San Juan Bartista. See . 68 post.

(4) Delano, pp. 138-44; Maude I, p. 61.

(5) See Delano p. 143, for his account of the reasons that prompted Smith to assume the name of John Adams.

(6) See Shillibeer pp. 81-97 for a detailed description of this visit. See also Maude I, pp. 61-2 and Young pp. 32-42

(7) Maude I, p. 63.

(8) See Brodie, pp. 107-153 for detailed entries in the Pitcairn Island Register covering the period from 1790-1850. The entries are brief except for the last ten years in respect of which they are much expanded. See also Maude I, p. 65.

(9) Waldegrave, p. 161. See also Moresby, pp. 27-8. For an account of the role played by Nobbs and of his background.

(10) Waldegrave, pp. 160-1. See also Barrow’s comments on pp. 330-333.

(11) Maude I, p.65, and Young, pp. 71-2. The latter refers to a scarcity of water. This was presumably only in times of drought.

(12) See Brodie, pp. 67-76 for a detailed account, and Maude I, pp. 66-69. Also Young, pp. 72-3.

(13) Maude I, p. 69.

(14) Brodie, pp. 160-164.

(15) Maude I, p. 69.

(16) See Young, pp. 75-85 for a detailed account and Brodie, pp. 174-216; also Maude I, pp. 70-72.

(17) Young, p. 78. Perhaps the real position was that whilst Hill in fact punished Buffet for his early misdeed his pretext for doing so was in relation to the offence stated by Buffett.

(18) Brodie, pp. 188-190.

(19) Brodie, pp. 184-192; and Maude I, P. 71.

(20) Maude I, pp. 71-2; Brodie, pp. 77-8, and Young, pp. 77-85 for a detailed contemporary account.

(21) See Brodie, pp. 84-91 for details of the Constitution and laws and Maude I, pp. 72-3 for a short commentary on them.

(22) Maude I, p. 73.

(23) The Local Government Ordinance, Chapt. 5 of the Revised Edition.

(24) The equivalents in produce or labour for the amounts to be paid for school fees are spelled out in that law, the relevant portion of which reads as follows:

“Equivalent for Mondy–





s. d. 

One Barrel of Yams valued at





8 0 

One Barrel of Potatoes valued at





8 0 

One Barrel of Irish Potatoes valued at




12 0 

Three Good Bunches of Plantains valued at



4 0 

One Day’s Labour valued at





2 0"

(25) See Brodie and Young for contemporary accounts of life on the Island during this period, also Maude I, at pp. 73-77; and Murray, for an overall account of the Pitcairn scene during this period.

(26) Maude I, p. 77-8.

(27) See Maude I, pp. 77-9 and Young, 118-136 for more detailed accounts.

(28) Young, pp. 137-8 and Maude I, p. 80 and Maude, Aleric, pp. 106-7. See also Murray, pp. 352-3 on this aspect and Governor Denison’s reasons for his actions.

(29) See Young, pp. 156-172 for a detailed account of the return by the second party; also Maude I, pp. 80-81.

(30) Maude 2, p. 84.

(31) Maude I, p. 82.

(32) See Young, pp. 201-214 for a detailed account of the visit by Rear-Admiral de Horsey and of the subsequent gifts. The annual visits by warships were to be maintained regularly until 1898. Thereafter such visits continued less frequently until the outbreak of the First World War.

(33) Young, pp. 222-3.

(34) Maude I, p. 86.

(35) See Young, pp. 229-34 for an account of the conversion of the community.

(36) Young, pp. 240-2.

(37) The 1893 Constitution and laws are set out in detail in Shapiro Appendix “A.”

(38) Fiji Royal Gazette, 1898 (p. 215).

(39) Maude I, p. 92.

(40) Maude I, p. 92.

(41) Maude I, pp. 90-92 for a general discussion on McCoy’s leadership.

(42) Simons, pp. 1-2.

(43) Simons, p. 5.

(44) Simons, pp. 6-7.

(45) Simons, p. 2.

(46) See Maude I, pp. 93-4 for a brief discussion of the 1904 Constitution and Laws, and Shapiro pp. 302-18 for a copy of the Laws, Regulations and Instructions reproduced from “The Pitcairn Island Civil Recorder” referred to by Maude and Shapiro as the “Book of Records of Pitcairn Island.” With the abolition of the External Committee in 1911, the post of Chairman of the External Committee also disappeared.

(47) Inserted between regulations 7 and 8 of the Internal Committee Regulations in the Pitcairn Island Civil Recorder.

(48) See Shapiro pp. 300-17 for details of these amendments and instructions and Maude I pp. 93-4 for the general position.

(49) Now Chapter 3 of the Revised Edition.

(50) This I consider attributable largely to the virtual complete lack of understanding as to how the laws should have been interpreted and applied.

(51) Maude I, p. 96. Petch does not appear to have been an unbiased witness as his removal from the office of Government Secretary coincided with a long criminal case against him in which he was found guilty and from the records of other cases it is apparent that considerable antipathy had developed between him and the islanders. He Was previously acquitted of another alleged offence against the laws.

(52) Neill, p. 5, the relevant figures over the years were 1901–126 persons; 1914–140 persons; 1920–169 persons; 1932–200 persons; and 1936–209 persons.

(53) In another case in which a man was charged with threatening his wife, a similar type of general inquiry was conducted with the result that both the accused husband and his wife were found guilty of an unspecified offence which one can only assume as being that of disturbing the peace, as also were three other persons named by one or other of the witnesses during the course of the hearing. Each was found guilty by the assessors and duly fined £2 by the Chief Magistrate. In addition another person called upon the Magistrate to act as an assessor in the case was fined £1 for contempt of court although continuing to sit as an assessor and without either having his alleged contempt explained to him or being given an opportunity to defend himself.

(54) Simons, p. 8 and Maude I, p. 95. “Fungers” is the Pitcairn name for an edible fungus which grows on trees on the islands of the Pacific and for which an export market exists in China.

(55) Neill, pp. 8-9. In addition to the orange exports shall quantities of fungers were exported to New Zealand until 1932.

(56) Neill, p. 26.

(57) Neill, p. 27.

(58) Neill, p. 13.

(59) Neill, p. 24. Also see Cowell, p. 47 for details of the revenue obtained from this source between 1957 and 1962. The average amount received each year being £9,065.

(60) See Maude II, para. 2. Maude’s view of the local situation was much less glowing than that of Neill as regards the state of affairs which he found existing on the island.

(61) See Maude II, para. 17. The range of salaries varied from £36 per annum for the Chief Magistrate to £6 per annum each for the 2 assessors and for the 2 members of the Internal Committee.

(62) Regulations 59, 60, 61, 62, 63 and 64.

(63) Maude II, 1944 report, p. 5.

(64) Dobbs, p. 7.

(65) The interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance, Chapter I of the Revised Edition and the Pitcairn Island (Local Government) Regulations Ordinance, 1952 (no. 2 of 1952).

(66) The Pitcairn Island Government Regulations (Amendment) Ordinance, 1953 (No. 2 of 1953).

(67) Claydon, para. 50, pp. 15-16.

(68) Claydon, paras, 52-59, pp. 16-19.

(69) Claydon, paras. 61-66, pp. 20-21.

(70) The Landing and Residence Ordinance, Chapter 2 of the Revised Edition; and the Adoption of Infants Ordinance, Chapter 8 of the Revised Edition; the Post Office Ordinance, Chapter 12 of the revised Edition; the Post Office Regulations, 1954 and the Pitcairn Island Government Regulations (Amendment) Ordinance, 1954 (No. 4 of 1954).

(71) Implemented by the Pitcairn Island Government Regulations (Amendment) Ordinance, 1954 (No. 4 of 1954).

(72) McLoughlin paras. 28-30. The principal defect in the system was the tendency on the part of some education officers to depart from their role as advisers and to assume more positive administrative functions.

(73) McLoughlin, paras. 81-89), pp. 50-53 for a detailed account of the discussions and Enclosure V for the recommended amendments.

(74) McLoughlin, para. 10, p. 6.

(75) McLoughlin, para. 8, p. 5.

(76) The Judicature Ordinance, 1961 (No. 1 of 1961). (Repealed and replaced by the Judicature Ordinance, 1970 (No. 20 (1970), now Chapter 206 of the Revised Edition).

(77) He has since resigned his post and gone to live in New Zealand.

(78) The Trade Unions and Trade Disputes Ordinance, 1959 (No. 1 of 1959), now the Trade Disputes Ordinance, Chapter 14 of the Revised Edition.

(79) Cowell, p. 47 for the population figures between 1957 and 1962.

(80) The Local Government Ordinance, Chapter 4, of the Revised Edition.

(81) Now the Local Government Regulations made under Section 7 of the Local Government Ordinance, Chapter 4, of the Revised Edition.

(82) Now the Justice Ordinance, Chapter 3 of the Revised Edition.

(83) See Waldegrave, p. 160.

(84) See Aleric Maude, pp. 106-7.

(85) Harre, pp. 3-6.

(86) Lands and Administration of Estates Ordinance Chapter 6 of the Revised Edition.

(87) Section 50 of the Lands and Administration of Estates Ordinance.

(88) Pensions (Aged and Infirm Persons) Ordinance, Chapter 1 of the Revised Edition.

(89) The Judicature Ordinance, Chapter 2 of the Revised Edition.

(90) Although believed by Maude and Cowell to be the island named San Juan Bautista by de Quiros, Captain Raine, in searching for the survivors of the Essex, sailed from Ducie Island for the island identified by him as Incarnation and at 24 degrees, 26 minutes South. 128 degrees, 20 minutes West found the island and picked up the survivors, indicating that Henderson may in fact be de Quiros’s La Encarnacion and Pitcairn his San Juan Bautista. Certainly Captain Raine had no difficulty in finding the island from de Quiros’s description of La Encarnacion.

(91) See De Salis for a detailed description of Captain Raine’s voyage.

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