The 'Nimmo Report' of 1976, revisited ... in this, the Third [ yup...THIRD ] International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2011-2020)

the author of this memo is a native Norfolk Islander;
who was arbitrarily stripped of residency rights - 
by the Commonwealth of Australia - apparently,
sometime in the 1960's
Baptist Bretheren NIMMOA

Baptist Bretheren NIMMO


  • Article         
    Memo To Whom It May Concern

A random stroll down memory lane:  
the 'Nimmo Report' of 1976, revisited ... in this, the- 'Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2011-2020)'



Date of Letters Patent–Date Final Report Presented


Report (Year / Volume / Pages)


Royal Commission into Matters Relating to Norfolk Island

15 May 1975    –
16 November 1976

J. A. Nimmo


British Crown Colony 


 Nimmo was commissioned to:

  • make inquiry into

  • and to report on

  • and make recommendations on

    (1) The future status of Norfolk Island and its constitutional relationship to Australia;

  • and

(2) The most appropriate form of administration for Norfolk Island if its constitutional position were changed.

Baptist Bretheren NIMMO
addenda: curiously there is virtually no biographical information whatsoever relating to John Angus Nimmo anywhere on the Internet, apart from a cursory gloss on Wikipedia; he was apparently active tho, in the Baptist Union of Victoria.


cf.also: Dr. J. M. Carroll’s booklet, “The Trail of Blood, a History of the Baptist Church,”

The common thread for all Baptists is the practice of adult baptism by total immersion only, while rejecting infant baptism. All Baptists believe in Luther’s doctrine of 'Sola Scriptura' or the 'Bible Only' as the sole authority on faith.


I was recently - & pleasantly – reminded of how much the world has changed since the passage of the Commonwealth Pacific Island Labourers Act 1901,  an Act designed to facilitate the mass deportation of all  Pacific Islanders resident in Australia at that time, [as an aside, my stomach literally churned as I realized the socio-political & temporal linkage between this legislation & the brutal evictions of Norfolk Islanders from their homes in 1908]; ...  whilst witnessing an encounter between a couple of Mormon Proselytizers, toting bibles - strapping Polynesian gentlemen, impeccably attired in bankers suit & tie - & a couple of lanky 20-something chaps, clad in stubbies, thongs & singlet, apparently anglo-celtic, enjoying an early morning wine-tasting in a public park.

Whereas the Polynesian evangelists were entirely without bodily markings of any sort, the lounging connisseurs of the grape, were both heavily tatooed neck to ankle, in what appeared to be traditional Polynesian motifs. 

Regrettably, this particular attempt to spread the good news of Christ's plan of Salvation for Fallen Humanity, was unsuccessfull; ...the Mormons being rather uncordially invited to continue on their sermonizing way with the uncharitable suggestion - “ ...& youse can stick yer frickin bibles up ya's clackers bros! … to which one of the evangelists gently replied “Jesus loves you anyway bro, & will always love you, just remember that”!

Aah, the trials & tribulations of the missionary man's burden … & the delightful ironies of latter day, 'normative inversion'.

Witnessing this incident got me thinking about how much the world has changed - in terms of an enlightened rejection of Colonialism - over the last half-century or so … & yet how LITTLE has changed in the Commonwealth of Australia's 'ATTITUDE' toward Norfolk Island since 1901.


It suddenly occurred to me that this 'Imperialistic' ATTITUDE was perfectly captured in the haughty, supercilious, condescending language, of the 'Nimmo Report' of some 37 years ago; … & that it is precisely this ATTITUDE which best symbolizes the essence of the gross asymmetries of power & control, inherent in the Master/Servant relationship, between Colonial Overlord & Colonized Vassal.

The Colonial Overlord is able to maintain the Colonized Vassal as 'chattel property', precisely because of it's POWER of 'defining' – & enforcing the definition – of the Colonized Vassal's essential IDENTITY; [in Norfolk's  case, autochthonous, culturally distinct, Anglo-Tahitians;  have been forcibly 'rebranded' *_dinky-di-aussies_*]  ...thereby shackling the Vassal  to the Liege Lord's own world-historical agenda … which is exactly what the Colonial Overlords have been doing viz-a-viz Norfolk Island since 1856.


I pondered over the above epiphanic insights for some time; & then wondered whether further insights might be gained by situating the 'Nimmo Report' within it's immediate historical context.

Which naturally bring's us to the topic of what is now being called Australia's political 'coup-culture' in general; & the overthrow of the Whitlam Government in 1975, in particular.


My basic thesis – in a nutshell – is that had the Whitlam Government NOT been overthrown in a Palace-Coup in 1975; it would have correctly – albeit belatedly - 'Inscribed' Norfolk Island on the UN List of Non-Self-Governing Territories supervised by The Special Committee on the Situation with Regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples (also known as the Special Committee on Decolonization or C-24) , at the earliest opportunity following the publication of the Nimmo Report  ... WHICH - IN ACCORD WITH AUSTRALIA'S OWN SOLEMN COVENANT, WITH THE UNITED NATIONS, - [whose charter the Commonwealth was instrumental in creating] -  SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE ON SATURDAY 14 DECEMBER,1946 ... as per:


Here's the rationale for this considered opinion:

The Whitlam government was arguably the most progressive in Australia's history;

[ Whitlam was accorded the rare privilege of being presented with the Socialist International Plate of Honour at Stockholm in1976], albeit only lasting 2 years, 11 months, & 7 days.

Through ensuring that Australia was party to a range of enlightened international agreements, the Whitlam government initiated the Commonwealth's first federal legislation on human rights, the environment and heritage

  • On 16 August 1975 Gough Whitlam formally handed the Gurindji

 people at Wattie Creek in the Northern Territory, title deeds to a

 large part of their traditional lands.

    • A month later, Papua New Guinea was celebrating

 Independence from Australian colonial administration.

  • Two months after that the Whitlam Government was
    peremptorily 'sacked' by Governor General Sir John Kerr.

The Supremo, that the Governer General appointed, to replace

 Gough Whitlam, was cut from a very different weave of cloth


Malcom Fraser was widely regarded at that time as being an aloof,

divisive & ruthless patrician, of Australia's traditional Ruling Class; a

flinty Cold War Ideologue, who pursued the more atavistic

elements of Thatcherism & Reaganism, well before those crude,

reactionary throwbacks, came to power.

In foreign policy Fraser was staunchly anti-communist and an arch conservative.

He supported Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor, & recognized its incorporation into Indonesia in 1978.

He also opposed the liberation of Cambodia - by means of Vietnamese intervention - from the genocidal Pol Pot regime.

He constantly sought greater military cooperation with the US, throughout his time in office.

In short, this was clearly not a man who was going to 'liberate' Norfolk Island in any way shape or form; in fact he cunningly used the 'Nimmo Report' to deflect the U.N.'s interest in Norfolk Island by implementing a form of:

      'Claytons' potemkin-marionette-'self -  government' (sic) ;  

...which, [ largely due to the glaring inadequacy ~ from the outset ~ of a sustainable revenue-stream into the Island's fiscus] was almost guaranteed -as if by design- to eventuate, in the impasse we face today  ... it is almost entirely forgotten these days, that Norfolk once had a burgeoning offshore financial sector - which was brutally strangled at birth, by the Commonwealth.

     The Gist 

Which brings me back to the ATTITUDE of the 'Nimmo Report'

At a mezzanine level of abstraction, the 'Nimmo Report' struck me, prima facie, as being the shoddy work of a mind of frugal wattage, ferally animated, with the dark energy of a seething prejudice; ...throughout a cursory reading, it was redolent of the 'bwana-speak' of a bygone era; when the 'correct' posture of the Overlord toward the subaltern, was one of an overbearing, supercilious contempt.

It is obviously unrealistic to attempt a comprehensive critique of the Nimmo Report in a single memo – however I would like to offer a close exegesis of just one random slanderous page [by no means the most offensive] in order to present a brief sketch of just what a shoddy & bigoted piece of work this so-called 'Report' actually was & is.

I have altered the formatting in the interests of clarity, as Nimmo was evidently schooled prior to the advent of punctuation; but the actual wording [IN RED] is all his own, verbatim – my annotations to his text are clearly marked with the preface 'edit'.

[nb. Nimmo may have also been mendacious; as I recall reading elsewhere that he 'consulted' no more than 9% of the Island's residents in the course of compiling this 'Report'; ... but nowhere, does he state this to be the case.]

excerpt from 'Nimmo Report': [ page 42 ]


Chapter 7


  1. On witnesses:

In examining and assessing the value to be placed on the evidence given at the hearings of the Commission, one has had to reflect on a prodigious variety of witnesses.

[edit: 'evidence'?; 'witnesses'? … did John Angus think he was back in the Star Chamber?? … there is no mention of this kind of judicial terminology in the 'Terms of Reference' cited above.]

'prodigious variety' ? … in a population at the time of well under 2,000! … also, as noted above Nimmo may have canvassed the views of no more than 9% of Norfolk's resident population]

Broadly they fall into three categories namely...

[edit: a 'prodigious variety' can be pigeonholed into just 'three categories' ??… the man must have been a taxonomic genius!!]

cf.  pro·di·gious  

  1. Remarkably or impressively great in extent, size, or degree.
  2. Unnatural or abnormal.
wonderful - stupendous - marvellous - enormous

[edit: Category Two]

Those who appeared to be honest, but inaccurate,
in respect of parts of their evidence because of :

[edit: there goes that loaded word 'evidence' yet again ... I reiterate, this 'inquiry' was NOT an adversarial court-of-law, scenario; ... apropos the use of the word 'appeared', I can only deduce that Nimmo meant 'seemed to be so' - ie. in the light of his own – clearly bigoted - subjective impressions' … apropos the use of the word 'inaccurate', one can only assume that Baptist Bretheren Nimmo was annointed with the Divine Gift of 'Omniscience' … for how else could he deduce that a subjective opinion was 'inaccurate'??] ... Baptist Bretheren Nimmo then, continues on, to indict those whose opinions he is merely canvassing, of:

  • ignorance

  • prejudice

  • partisanship

  • an inclination to believe what they wished  [!?!?]

  • a tendency to exaggerate 


  • or some other human failing  [!?!?] way of illustration there were witnesses in this category who glibly claimed:

    ‘Australia has never done anything for Norfolk Island’. 

I reiterate, dear reader, that my purpose is not to present a comprehensive exposé of Nimmo - simply to offer an anecdotal glimpse, into how bigoted & shoddy - indeed [!?!? - bizarre] this 'report' actually was;  these are excerpts from just one page, randomly selected, but it could be any page, as they are virtually all riddled with similar absurdities.  

I urge those with the requisite intestinal fortitude, to read forensically, the entire unhinged rant, known as the 'Nimmo Report' ; which formed the ideological foundation upon which Norfolk's forseeable future, was to be constructed.

It would appear that the 'human failing' implied, in this instance - by Baptist Bretheren Nimmo - is that of the sordidly un-christian Sin; ... of INGRATITUDE – ... from time immemorial, the cardinal failing of the reprobate Vassal against the magnanimous Overlord.

vide infra:

Ingratitude is a serious Bibilical sin. The Holy Scriptures say that it is one of the characteristics of the anti-christian spirit of the End Times (2 Tim. 3: 2). It will be judged severely by God.

Baptist Bretheren NIMMO


According to the ALP website,

The Australian Labor Party maintains

 formal links with fraternal parties overseas through ongoing membership

 of the Socialist International Association.”

 [cf. ]

The Socialist International Association appears to have an admirable set of

 principles, which they set forth as an agenda for their fee paying party

 members to follow. 

The quotation below, taken from their Ethical Charter, citing

 principles “adopted at the XXII Congress of the Socialist International,

 São Paulo”
  declares a solemn affirmation which party members agree

uphold and promote as a condition of acceptance into the 

Association of the Socialist International

This Affirmation states:

"We, member parties of the Socialist International, reaffirm our total

 commitment to the values of equality, freedom, justice, solidarity

peace, which are the foundation of democratic socialism.

We solemnly undertake to respect, defend and promote those values

the spirit of the fundamental declarations and campaigns of the

Socialist International"

The Ethical Charter continues on to affirm that member parties will strictly

 follow specified principles in defence of pluralistic democracy; of which, a

 respect for the
rights of minorities and individuals; and an independent

 and impartial judicial system based on the rule of law, are identified as

 essential to the fulfilment of the charter. 

The Ethical Charter of which the Australian Labor Government is a full 

fee-paying member, goes on to state it is their responsibility to:

"Guarantee, under all circumstances, the respect of human dignity

to act in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human

 and the other important conventions adopted by the

Nations and its Institutions."


In a nutshell dear reader, it is my humble contention: 

given that, the 'Nimmo Report' was the intellectual bedrock upon which Norfolk Island 'self-government' was founded … there can be little wonder that Norfolk Island 'self-government' is now, foundering.

We are fast approaching the event-horizon of the Yawning-Abyss, of another 'Ming Dynasty' era, of LNP reactionary government in Australia – the once great Australian Labor Party, should salvage some of it's progressive social-democratic credibility, by WALKING THE TALK quoted above, re. the Socialist International Charter; & 'Inscribing' Norfolk Island onto the UN List of Non-Self-Governing Territories, ... before, the very real prospect, of its being thrown out of office, come September.

Baptist Bretheren NIMMO