Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

THIS remote island sitting in the Pacific is home to 62 people who all have a West Country accent and descended from the same Brit.

Located 12,000 miles away from the UK, Palmerston Atoll is ruled by the offspring of English carpenter William Marsters, who settled there with his four wives in 1863.

Palmerston Island remotely sits more than 2,000 miles off the coast of New Zealand

YouTubeCarpenter William Marsters, pictured centre with a hat, populated the atoll with 17 children and 54 grandchildren after leaving Gloucestershire in the 1840s[/caption]

AlamyThe tropical paradise has a total land area of just one square mile[/caption]

Linguists believe the name Marsters is a corruption of “Masters” in the West Country dialect.

William left Bibury, Gloucestershire, in the 1840s and headed for California for the gold rush.

He then set sail to Palmerston Atoll, where he populated the island with 17 children and 54 grandchildren before dying in 1899 aged 78.

Out of its current 62 inhabitants, all but three descend from Mr Marsters including the island’s current mayor Bob Marsters.

Almost everyone on the island is a government employee, and every year there is a budget that is spent on building the island’s infrastructure.

The small population means that people sometimes got married only to later find out that they were closely related – Bob and his wife included.

“Her [wife’s] father and my father were brothers. I didn’t know it but by the time we found out, it was too late and we already had kids,” Bob revealed.

The tiny island has a total land area of just one square mile, compared to Gloucestershire’s 1,225 square miles.

Sitting 2,045 miles off the coast of New Zealand, Palmerston was discovered in 1774 by British explorer James Cook.

It is so remote that until 1969 its position on maps was based on Captain Cook’s original charts. 

John Roberts, who has been researching the history of the Cook Islands, wishes to contact anyone who is related to the mysterious pioneer.

He discovered that Marsters’ descendants can be found all over the globe.

“I get at least one e-mail a week from somewhere in the world saying ‘I’m related to that family’,” John said.

Palmerston might be far away from western civilisation, but the island is certainly not short of rules and policies.

For instance, no foreigner is allowed to set foot on shore without first being adopted into a local family.

Visitors are encouraged to reciprocate the islanders’ hospitality with donations of clothes, pens and other staples, as the atoll has no bank, store or roads.

But Palmerston does have its own school, church, and even a bar.

To make a living, residents engage in fishing and harvesting coconuts and in their free time they make jewellery, play volleyball, or swim.

The island does have electricity and Internet, but only for a couple of hours a day.

Some lucky few have mobile phones and there’s even a satellite TV.

Palmerston only has two toilets and residents collect rainwater for drinking. 

The island also holds some rather curious records, such as the highest number of freezers per capita in the Southern Hemisphere.

Thousands of miles West lies a similar remote island – so remote that it takes two weeks to reach by boat.

Tristan da Cunha lies 1500 miles off the coast of South Africa, and has a population of only 138 people who live a very unique lifestyle in the open ocean.

To reach the small village on the island, you fly to Cape Town and then take a boat for the 1500 mile journey, where deliveries are only made nine times a year.

AlamyPalmerston Island was discovered by Captain Cook in 1774[/caption]

AlamyAlmost every resident is a government member[/caption]

YouTubeThe English carpenter arrived on the island with his four wives[/caption]

AlamyNow ruled by William’s offspring, the island has its own church, school and bar[/caption]

AlamyPalmerston also has electricity and internet but only for a couple of hours a day[/caption]


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