Cocos (Keeling) Islands 2016

The Islands

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

CQ Zone 29
ITU Zone 54
Maidenhead locator NH87JT – Exact NH87JT95CM
Latitude 12°11’06.8″S Longitude 96°49’33.5″E
IOTA OC-003

About

The Territory of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, also called Cocos Islands and Keeling Islands, is a territory of Australia, located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Christmas Island and approximately midway between Australia and Sri Lanka.

The territory consists of two atolls and 27 coral islands, of which two, West Island and Home Island, are inhabited with a total population of approximately 600.

Geography

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands consist of two flat, low-lying coral atolls with an area of 14.2 square kilometres (5.5 sq mi), 26 kilometres (16 mi) of coastline, a highest elevation of 5 metres (16 ft) and thickly covered with coconut palms and other vegetation. The climate is pleasant, moderated by the southeast trade winds for about nine months of the year and with moderate rainfall. Tropical cyclones may occur in the early months of the year.

History

In 1609, Captain William Keeling was the first European to see the islands, while serving in the East India Company, but they remained uninhabited until the 19th century.

In 1814, a Scottish merchant seaman named Captain John Clunies-Ross stopped briefly at the islands on a trip to India, nailing up a Union Jack and planning to return and settle on the islands with his family in the future.

However, a wealthy Englishman named Alexander Hare had similar plans, and hired a captain – coincidentally, Clunies-Ross’ brother – to bring him and a harem of forty Malay women to the islands, where he hoped to set up his own private residence. Hare had previously served as governor of Maluka, a colony in Borneo and found that “he could not confine himself to the tame life that prosy civilisation affords”.

When Clunies-Ross returned two years later with his wife, children and mother-in-law, and found Hare already established on the island and living with a private harem, a feud grew instantly between the two men. Clunies-Ross’ eight sailors, “began at once the invasion of the new kingdom to take possession of it, women and all”.

After some time, Hare’s women began deserting him, and instead finding themselves mates amongst Clunies-Ross’ sailors. Disheartened, Hare left the island. He died in Bencoolen in 1834.

Clunies-Ross’ workers were paid in a currency called the Cocos rupee, a currency John Clunies-Ross minted himself that could only be redeemed at the company store.

A landing party from the German Navy cruiser Emden leaves Cocos (Keeling) Islands via this jetty on Direction Island.
On 1 April 1836, HMS Beagle under Captain Robert FitzRoy arrived to take soundings establishing the profile of the atoll as part of the survey expedition of the Beagle. To the young naturalist Charles Darwin, who was on the ship, the results supported a theory he had developed of how atolls formed, which he later published as The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs. He studied the natural history of the islands and collected specimens. Darwin’s assistant Syms Covington noted that “an Englishman [he was in fact Scottish] and HIS family, with about sixty or seventy mulattos from the Cape of Good Hope, live on one of the islands. Captain Ross, the governor, is now absent at the Cape.”

Source Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocos_%28Keeling%29_Islands

See a list of other DXpeditions to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands