The mutiny on the Royal Navy vessel HMS Bounty is the most famous founding narrative of Norfolk Island. It occurred in the South Pacific Ocean on the night of 28 April 1789, when unhappy crew members, led by Fletcher Christian, seized control of the ship from their captain, William Bligh, setting him and his 18 supporters adrift in a longboat.
While 14 mutineers were captured by the crew of the HMS Pandora in Tahiti, Fletcher Christian and the other mutineers fled on board the Bounty, destination unknown. The Pandora searched the Tokelau Islands, the Tongan Islands and Fiji for four to five months, but still could not locate Fletcher Christian and his men.
HMS Pandora sank on 29 August 1791 on the outer Great Barrier Reef while returning home from her mission to locate the mutinous Bounty crew. Four mutineers and 31 crew members died. The surviving ten prisoners were tried and found guilty of mutiny. No further attempt was made to capture the remaining mutineers who, along with Fletcher Christian, made it to the uninhabited Pitcairn Island. By the time this was discovered, only one original mutineer was still alive.
The descendants of the mutineers, and the other inhabitants of Pitcairn Island, were relocated to Norfolk Island on 8 June 1856, after outgrowing their island home. This date is celebrated every year on Norfolk Island as Bounty Day.