There's more to Norfolk Island There's more to Norfolk Island

On Norfolk Island, stories await around every turn, and Headstone Reserve is the setting for one of our most gripping.

According to legend, an escaped convict by the name of Barney Duffy placed a curse on the soldiers who recaptured him. His captors then drowned at Headstone Point, earning it the nickname Barney Duffy Gully.

Today, you’ll see a lone headstone standing sentry over the craggy coast, commemorating the drowning of two British soldiers. Gripping as this yarn is, the timing doesn’t quite line up: the headstone dates the soldiers’ death to 1850, but historical documents indicate the name Barney Duffy Gully was in use since at least the late 1830s.

From the cliff edge, you might be able to make out the remnants of steps, which used to provide access to passengers coming ashore from boats. The steps have long since eroded, but some hardy locals still use them to reach prime rock-fishing spots.

A sweeping view of the calm ocean and rocky shoreline at the base of the cliff. Norfolk pine trees are dotted along the grassy surface of the cliff.
A grass-covered area covered with Norfolk pine trees that looks out over the ocean.
A grassy area on a cliff that looks out over the ocean. Norfolk pine trees surround a timber picnic table that sits towards the edge of the cliff.
A view of the ocean's horizon at dusk. Behind the silhouette of a Norfolk pine tree, the golden sky is reflected onto the water.
A man and woman sit at a timber picnic table on the cliffs edge enjoying a glass of wine. Behind them the sun sets behind the ocean's horizon.

Visitor information

Operating Hours: 24/7

Cost: Free

Getting Here: On the island’s west coast, off Headstone Road. A 5-minute drive from Burnt Pine.

Top Tips for Headstone Reserve

  • There is little in the way of facilities at the reserve, so bring water and snacks with you.
  • For nature walks, make the short drive south to neighbouring Hundred Acres Reserve, where forest trails lead out to Rocky Point.
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