Norfolk Island is a small island in the Pacific Ocean. The island is part of the Commonwealth of Australia, but it enjoys a large degree of self-governance. Together with two neighbouring islands, it forms one of Australia's external territories. Originally colonised by East Polynesians, Norfolk Island was colonised by the British as part of their settlement in Australia in 1788. It then served as a convict penal settlement until 1794, when it was abandoned until 1856, when permanent residence on the island for civilians began. In 1901, the island became a part of the Commonwealth of Australia which it has remained until this day. The evergreen Norfolk Island pine is a symbol of the island and thus pictured on its flag (see illustration). Native to the island, the pine is a key export industry for Norfolk Island, being a popular ornamental tree on mainland Australia, where two related species grow, and also in Europe.