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FACES OF NORFOLK - MEET PAUL COCKING - OWNER OF BARNEY DUFFY'S CHARCOAL GRILL

Friday, July 22, 2016
Barney Duffy’s has been a favourite Restaurant for many of years on Norfolk Island, during this time it has seen the restaurant change ownership a handful of times since it’s build in 1978. Paul Cocking originally came to Norfolk as a TEP (Tertiary Entry Permit) as a Chef at Colonial Resort & Hotel. He began his apprenticeship on Lizard Island in North Queensland. During his years working through out Queensland and Brisbane Paul has prepared dining experiences enjoyed by the Dutch King and Queen, Andrew, the Duke of York and Fergie, the Queensland Premier and Lee Marvin, too name a few.

Growing up in the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, it is now 20 years on that Pauls been living on Norfolk with the last 8 years being the owner of Barney Duffy’s Charcoal Grill. Pauls mother Hazel followed closely behind after he finally decided to call Norfolk home and purchased his A-Frame house here around the year 2000.  

If you ask a number of locals from the past they are sure to admit they have worked at Barney’sDuffy’s at some stage or another, from chefs to floor staff, bar staff to junior wait persons. The menu has stayed very similar over the years as Barneys had quite the famous reputation for many of delicacies on its menu. Today the returning visitors to the island who come to Barney’s for the meal they had many of years ago, for instance the Cloud 9; an alcoholic milkshake which is best consumed before your meal or as a dessert, the local Pork Spare Ribs, Seafood Chowder, on occasion Pacific Oysters and of course the prime cuts of Local and Imported Beef Steaks, cooked to order with accompanying homemade sauces, salad and Idaho potato. 

Barney Duffy’s is a Norfolk Pine clad interior with exposed nails, Pauls been lucky to find many of old photographic material which hangs on the walls to show the past here on island, his recent finds are of the Missionary  Village, The Hollow Pine of Barney Duffy in which he is rumoured to have lived. 

Many may be unfamiliar with the story of Barney Duffy; He was one of the escaped convicts who lived a miserable existence on Norfolk in 1790. Under the watchful eye of the Guards being punished by lashings of the Cat-O-Nine Tails whipping, Barney escaped his captors and the story goes that for seven years he evaded the Guards. Living in a safe inside hollow of a Norfolk Pine to give him shelter from nature’s elements, the pine had a wide opening only on one side so it could very easily go unnoticed. The story could be made into a Hollywood movie or a bestselling novel, to cut a long story short Barney was given up for dead. 

One day his two captors where fishing off the treacherous rocks of Headstone and while climbing up the hill on their way back to Kingston Barracks they suddenly came upon a tall man with matted hair, naked and unclothed. They moved to take him into custody and they say he cursed his captors saying “Take me or report me ye red coated lily-livered lice – aye, and then I’ll hang but hear ye curse on ye! So surely as ye do this thing before me corpse has hung a week on Kingston Gallows ye’ll meet a violent death, the pair o’ye. So think twice, me brave young buckos or ye’ll remember these words when your time comes.”

The young men paid no heed and marched their captive to Kingston settlement to be hung, as they were crowned virtual heroes. Two days later the same two Soldiers went back to Headstone along with a third man to fish. As is that of the curse they were swept off the rocks and the Soldiers drowned whilst the third man survived.

If you head to Norfolk Island be sure to visit Paul in Barney Duffy’s, he has a few tales of his own, pretty good ghost stories, tasty mouth watering steaks and can also stay open late on notice or prepare take away meals for you by oder. If you head to Norfolk to fish, be aware of ‘the seventh wave’ it has a habit of rising and catching you off guard or could be the return of old man Barney Duffy’s curse. 



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