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‘Werken Shep’

Most of Norfolk Island’s imported goods still arrive by sea and are unloaded through a unique cargo-ferrying operation that requires skill, tenacity and an intrinsic knowledge of Norfolk’s waters.

Time-Honoured Tradition

The advancement of regular air services to the island, and the modernisation of shipping lines and ports from which products are dispatched, has changed the way goods are transported. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easier to get things onto Norfolk’s shores, and ‘Working the ship’ remains a beautifully choreographed display of time-honoured seafaring skills and it is a pleasure to witness.

Lighter Boats

A Lighter Boat is a cargo carrying boat used to unload a ship and essentially – make it lighter. Norfolk’s design of cargo ferrying vessel has been used as a means of transporting goods from ship to shore for several decades. In the era we are in now where everything is scrutinised, digitised and compartmentalised, it’s a testament to Norfolk’s boat-building and seafaring skills that this remains the most economically efficient way to unload cargo, and bring it to Norfolk’s shores.


These boats are built by hand on Norfolk Island, and after years of ocean-going service they are given a sedate retirement and a place to rest among the buildings of Kingston’s Old Town. There the boats gracefully weather away and present an elegant and peaceful reminder of their place in Norfolk’s story.

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