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Cocos (Keeling) Islands Group

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Cocos (Keeling) Islands Group - Cities, Towns and Localities
Cocos (Keeling) Islands are an Australian Territory located in the the Indian Ocean, about 2,768 km north-west of Perth and 3,685 km due west of Darwin. It is of course only 900 km south-south west of Christmas Island and about 100 km south-west of Java and Sumatra. The main inhabited islands are Home Island, Direction Island and West Island on which the airport is located.

The island group comprises 27 islands, of which there are two separate atolls, the southern atoll of 26 islands, and the northern atoll (North Keeling Island, a single horse-shoe shaped island) which is about 24 km from the main group. The main islands form a horseshoe-shaped atoll, surrounded by a coral reef. The atolls are connected by a submerged ridge at a depth of 700-800m. Together they comprise a single feature rising from an ocean floor depth of about 5,000 m. Each island has rough coral beaches to seaward and sandy beaches or mudflats on the lagoon side.

The island group is named after the coconut (Cocos nucifera), which were predominant, even before the additional planting of all of the southern atoll, as part of the Clunies Ross Estate. It is believed that Captain William Keeling was the first European to sight the islands in 1609 on his return from Bantam in the Dutch East Indies, on behalf of the East India Company.

Cocos Islands
Ampang • Ampang Kecil • Blan • Blan Madar • Blekok • Chepelok • Direction Island/Lua • Gangsa • Home Island • Horsburgh Island • Jambatang • Kambing • Kembang • Klapa Satu • Labu • Maraya • North Keeling • Pandan • Pasir • Prison Island/Beras • Pulu Maria • Pulu Siput • Pulu Wak Banka • South Island/Atas • Wa-idas • Wak Banka • West Island/Panjang

The British hydrographer, James Horsburgh, in his 1805 compiled sailing directory for this region of the Indian Ocean, called them the Cocos-Keeling islands, naming one of the islands Horsburgh Island, after himself. It wasn’t until 1826 before they were inhabited by Englishman Alexander Hare, who established a settlement on the main atoll. The next year a Scottish seaman and former employee of Hare, Captain John Clunies-Ross, settled on another island of the atoll. The early inhabitants called them the Borneo Coral Reefs after the supply vessel the Borneo, owned by John and Joseph Hare and Co, and captained by John Clunies-Ross. Also known as the Keeling-Cocos Islands until 1955, when they officially became the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Many of the islands are prefixed with ‘Pulu’, the Cocos-Malay word for island.

In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Home Island / Pulu Selma
 Home of the Cocos Malay people and site of the first European settlement by Alexander Hare in 1826. There are two major settlements called Kampongs, and include Kampong Baru (new village) and Kampong Atas (top village).

Parts of the island have been reclaimed by the islanders, Kampong Baru is constructed on reclaimed land. The island was once crossed with narrow gauge trolley tracks that carried small hand pushed wagons by which the islanders moved cargo around Kampong Baru. The Clunies-Ross mansion (Oceania House) built in 1893, still stands in the south-west corner of the island.

Source: Environment Australia - Pulu Keeling National Park Plan of Management, Parks Australia
Department of Transport and Regional Services - Cocos (Keeling) Islands

The Flyingfish travels and Cocos Diving

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Cocos (Keeling) Islands Group Other links

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands
• A site about the history of the Cocos Keeling Islands from the time of its settlement to about 1910.
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