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Research Projects and Kingston

Kingston is a historic site, a cultural landscape, administrative centre and place of community recreation and cultural tradition located on Norfolk Island in the Pacific Ocean. It is managed by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (the Department), and is a major focal point for both Norfolk Islanders and tourists.

The World, National, Commonwealth and local heritage values for Kingston confirm that Kingston is a place of heritage significance, recognised by multiple listings and legislative obligations. As the home of the Norfolk Island community, including those of Pitcairn descent, the place is a unique living heritage site which has meaning in the daily lives of Norfolk Islanders. As part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property, Kingston tells a unique aspect of the internationally significant convict story, combining with ten other places to express Outstanding Universal Value. Part of a globally important heritage site, the management of Kingston’s heritage significance must meet and demonstrate international heritage best practice. The heritage significance of Kingston gives rise to a range of requirements, the most fundamental of which is to ensure Kingston is managed in accordance with its heritage values, and that the heritage values of the place are protected and conserved for future generations.

In addition to being part of the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage property, Kingston is included on Australia’s National Heritage List, the Commonwealth Heritage List, and the Norfolk Island Heritage Register.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) is a primary legislative instrument for managing and protecting Kingston’s significant heritage values. The EPBC Act provides that a Heritage Management Plan must be prepared and approved by the Minister responsible for heritage. The Kingston and Arthur’s Vale Historic Area Heritage Management Plan (HMP) 2016 is currently under review, but remains the principle guiding document for all activities associated with Kingston, including research. In addition, a number of other plans provide direction on research activities, the two most important being:

The key objectives of the HMP include:

  • to provide an understanding of Kingston through investigation of its context, history, physical fabric, and research potential;
  • to provide an integrated practical management plan for the heritage values of the Kingston site at World, National, Commonwealth and Norfolk Island levels;
  • to provide direction to assist in the conservation, protection, management, continuation and transmission of all heritage values of the Kingston site to benefit current and future generations.

The HMP lays out the Statutory Management Framework for Kingston and associated activities. This should be referenced to provide context for any proposed research activities relating to Kingston.

The management of Kingston places equal emphasis on the heritage related to the pre- and post-convict histories of the site: the earlier Polynesian settlement and the post-1856 Pitcairn settlement of Norfolk Island. All components of Kingston’s heritage provide valuable opportunities for research programs. The guidelines in the HMP encourage opportunities to undertake relevant research and also archaeological investigation and projects that provide information on all phases of Norfolk Island’s settlement.

Research programs that involve archaeological investigation are encouraged, however preference will be given to projects that contribute to current heritage management or interpretation needs and priorities.

  • All archaeological research projects must be approved by Kingston Site Management and undertaken in accordance with an archaeological research design that sets out an agreed methodology and demonstrates how the proposed research will benefit current and future generations.

Proposals for research activities are progressed in consultation with the KAVHA Advisory Committee and the KAVHA Community Advisory Group.

In the first instance all queries relating to research at Kingston should be directed to

Research Project Applications (to be submitted at least 3 months before the proposed start date)

  1. All projects are to be approved by the Director, on advice from relevant KAVHA heritage staff and the KAVHA Advisory Committee.
  2. Expressions of Interest or applications for a research project must include the following:
    1. Outline of the project with clearly defined research outputs
    2. A summary of the thesis proposal, if the project is part of broader academic thesis
    3. A letter of support from the hosting academic body or other relevant agency
    4. If appropriate, a document from the above providing proof of Ethics Approval
    5. A biography of the researcher/s detailing relevant experience
    6. Time frame of the proposed project
    7. Requirement for support and input from KAVHA personnel
    8. Identification of how the project relates to the World, National or Commonwealth Heritage values of KAVHA and whether it needs to be referred under the EPBC Act
    9. Identification of how the project can directly engage with and involve the Norfolk Island community
    10. Identification of how the project can engage with the heritage management goals of KAVHA
  3. If the project involves archaeological excavation the application must also include:
    1. How the proposal is consistent with the guidelines contained in key KAVHA heritage plans, most importantly the AMZP, HMP and CLMP
    2. An excavation program and methodology
    3. A methodology for artefact cataloguing and short and long-term conservation, including anticipated costs
    4. If any archaeological materials will need to be removed from the island for analysis, an explanation of why the materials need to be removed, an estimation of the amount of materials to be removed, a description of the on-island stakeholders that will be consulted to gain permission for the removal, and a clear timeframe for when the materials will be returned to the island
  4. A copy of the final research report is to be provided to KAVHA on completion
  5. All costs of the project, including any statutory applications, are to be met by the applicant.

Due to processing time frames, local holidays, and local works activities around KAVHA, we recommend that any accommodation or flights not be finalised until a research project application has been approved. The 3-month timeframe is a minimum.