Cocos Islands

Quick Reference

Australian dependency that aims for Australian wealth

The Cocos Islands, officially called the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, comprise two main coral atolls in the eastern Indian Ocean. The only inhabited islands are Home Island and West Island.

Most of the Cocos islander community, who are Muslims, are to be found on Home Island. They are descendants of people who were brought from Malaya, East Africa, and other countries to work on the coconut plantations. Those on West Island are largely Australian government employees and their families.

Though there is some fishing and horticulture, their main source of income is still coconuts. Most of their work is organized by the Cocos Islands Cooperative Society, which supervises the production of copra and other activities.

The islands came under Australian control in 1955. In 1978, the Australian government purchased most of the land owned by the Clunies-Ross family and distributed it to the islanders. In 1984, in a UN-supervised referendum they voted to become a part of Australia. There is a non-resident Australian administrator as well as a seven-seat Shire Council.

www.shire.cc/ Government - Shire website

www.cocos-tourism.cc/ Tourism Association website

People:596. Cocos Malays (who are Muslim) and Europeans. Languages are Malay and English

Government:Territory of Australia. Capital: West Island

Economy:GDP per capita not available. Main exports: copra, coconuts

Reference entries