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Australia-Oceania :: Christmas Island
(territory of Australia)
Page last updated on September 23, 2015
No Photos available for Christmas Island
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  • Introduction :: CHRISTMAS ISLAND

  • Named in 1643 for the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement began by the UK in 1888 with the discovery of the island's phosphate deposits. Following the Second World War, Christmas Island came under the jurisdiction of the new British Colony of Singapore. The island existed as a separate Crown colony from 1 January 1958 to 1 October 1958 when its transfer to Australian jurisdiction was finalized. That date is still celebrated on the first Monday in October as Territory Day. Almost two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park.
  • Geography :: CHRISTMAS ISLAND

  • Southeastern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia
    10 30 S, 105 40 E
    Southeast Asia
    total: 135 sq km
    land: 135 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 222
    about three-quarters the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    138.9 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    contiguous zone: 12 nm
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    tropical with a wet season (December to April) and dry season; heat and humidity moderated by trade winds
    steep cliffs along coast rise abruptly to central plateau
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Murray Hill 361 m
    phosphate, beaches
    agricultural land: 0%
    arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%
    other: 100% (mainly tropical reainforest; 63% of the island is a national park) (2011 est.)
    the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard
    loss of rainforest; impact of phosphate mining
    located along major sea lanes of Indian Ocean
  • People and Society :: CHRISTMAS ISLAND

  • noun: Christmas Islander(s)
    adjective: Christmas Island
    Chinese 70%, European 20%, Malay 10%
    note: no indigenous population (2001)
    English (official), Chinese, Malay
    Christian 23.1%, Buddhist 16.8%, Muslim 14.8%, Hindu 0.4%, none 9.2% (2011 est.)
    1,530 (July 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 233
    1.11% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    NA (2009 est.)
    total: NA
    male: NA
    female: NA
    total population: NA
    male: NA
    female: NA
  • Government :: CHRISTMAS ISLAND

  • conventional long form: Territory of Christmas Island
    conventional short form: Christmas Island
    non-self governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport
    name: The Settlement
    geographic coordinates: 10 25 S, 105 43 E
    time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    none (territory of Australia)
    none (territory of Australia)
    Australia Day, 26 January (1788)
    1 October 1958 (Christmas Island Act 1958); amended many times, last in 2010 (Territories Law Reform Act 2010) (2010)
    legal system is under the authority of the governor general of Australia and Australian law
    18 years of age
    chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia General Sir Peter COSGROVE (since28 March 2014)
    head of government: Administrator Jon STANHOPE (since 5 October 2012)
    elections/appointments: 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 2-year term and represents the monarch and Australia
    description: unicameral Christmas Island Shire Council (9 seats; members directly elected by simple majority vote to serve 4-year terms with a portion of the membership renewed every 2 years)
    elections: held every two years with half the members standing for election; last held In 2011 (next to be held in 2013)
    election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 9
    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)
    none (territory of Australia)
    none (territory of Australia)
    territorial flag; divided diagonally from upper hoist to lower fly; the upper triangle is green with a yellow image of the Golden Bosun Bird superimposed; the lower triangle is blue with the Southern Cross constellation, representing Australia, superimposed; a centered yellow disk displays a green map of the island
    note: the flag of Australia is used for official purposes
    golden bosun bird
    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)

  • The main economic activities on Christmas Island are the mining of low grade phosphate, limited tourism, the provision of government services and more recently the construction and operation of the Immigration Detention Center. The government sector includes administration, health, education, policing, customs, quarantine and defense.
    tourism, phosphate extraction (near depletion)
    revenues: $NA
    expenditures: $NA
    1 July - 30 June
    consumer goods
    Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
    1.098 (2014)
    1.0358 (2013)
    0.97 (2012)
    0.9695 (2011)
    1.0902 (2010)
  • Communications :: CHRISTMAS ISLAND

  • general assessment: service provided by the Australian network
    domestic: GSM mobile-cellular telephone service replaced older analog system in February 2005
    international: country code - 61-8; satellite earth station - 1 (Intelsat provides telephone and telex service) (2005)
    1 community radio station; satellite broadcasts of several Australian radio and TV stations (2009)
    AM 1, FM 2, shortwave 0 (2006)
    0 (TV broadcasts received via satellite from mainland Australia) (2006)
    total: 464
    percent of population: 16.7% (2001)
    country comparison to the world: 217
  • Transportation :: CHRISTMAS ISLAND

  • 1 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 215
    total: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)
    total: 18 km
    standard gauge: 18 km 1.435-m (not in operation) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 135
    total: 140 km
    paved: 30 km
    unpaved: 110 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 212
    major seaport(s): Flying Fish Cove
  • Military :: CHRISTMAS ISLAND

  • defense is the responsibility of Australia
  • Transnational Issues :: CHRISTMAS ISLAND

  • none