Australia-Oceania :: Cocos (Keeling) Islands
(territory of Australia)

Introduction ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands

    There are 27 coral islands in the group. Captain William KEELING discovered the islands in 1609, but they remained uninhabited until the 19th century. From the 1820s to 1978, members of the CLUNIE-ROSS family controlled the islands and the copra produced from local coconuts. Annexed by the UK in 1857, the Cocos Islands were transferred to the Australian Government in 1955. Apart from North Keeling Island, which lies 30 kilometers north of the main group, the islands form a horseshoe-shaped atoll surrounding a lagoon. North Keeling Island was declared a national park in 1995 and is administered by Parks Australia. The population on the two inhabited islands generally is split between the ethnic Europeans on West Island and the ethnic Malays on Home Island.

Geography ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands

People and Society ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Government ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands

    conventional long form: Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands
    conventional short form: Cocos (Keeling) Islands
    non-self governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport
    name: West Island
    geographic coordinates: 12 10 S, 96 50 E
    time difference: UTC+6.5 (11.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    none (territory of Australia)
    none (territory of Australia)
    Australia Day, 26 January (1788)
    Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955 (23 November 1955); amended by Territories Law Reform Act 1992
    common law based on the Australian model
    18 years of age
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by the Australian governor general
    head of government: Administrator (nonresident) Jon STANHOPE (since 5 October 2012)
    cabinet: NA
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    elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Australian prime minister; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia for a two-year term and represents the monarch and Australia
    unicameral Cocos (Keeling) Islands Shire Council (7 seats)
    elections: held every two years with half the members standing for election; last held in October 2011 (next to be held in October 2013)
    highest court(s): under the terms of the Territorial Law Reform Act 1992, Western Australia provides court services as needed for the island including the Supreme Court and subordinate courts (District Court, Magistrate Court, Family Court, Children's Court, and Coroners' Court)
    judge selection and term of office: NA
    subordinate courts: NA
    The Cocos Islands Youth Support Centre
    none (territory of Australia)
    none (territory of Australia)
    the flag of Australia is used
    note: as a territory of Australia, "Advance Australia Fair" remains official as the national anthem, while "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see Australia)

Economy ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Communications ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands

    general assessment: telephone service is part of the Australian network; an operational local mobile-cellular network available; wireless Internet connectivity available
    domestic: NA
    international: country code - 61; telephone, telex, and facsimile communications with Australia and elsewhere via satellite; satellite earth station - 1 (Intelsat) (2001)
    1 local radio station staffed by community volunteers; satellite broadcasts of several Australian radio and TV stations available (2009)
    42,820 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 99

Transportation ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Military ::Cocos (Keeling) Islands

    defense is the responsibility of Australia; the territory has a five-person police force