Cocos Keeling Islands

Welcome to our home … Home Island at the Cocos Keeling Islands. A place with a diverse rich historic landscape, surrounded by a coral playground, why wouldn’t you want to visit?


History

The territory of Cocos Keeling Islands is an Australian external territory in the Indian Ocean. 

The islands were discovered in 1609 by William Keeling but not settled until the early 19th century.

One of the first settlers was John Clunies-Ross, a Scottish merchant. The descendants of the islands’ current population are from the Malay workers he brought to work the copra plantation. The Clunies-Ross family ruled the islands for almost 150 years.

The territory was transferred to Australia in 1955 and in 1984 the Cocos Malay people voted to integrate with Australia.


Location

The Cocos Keeling Islands are a remote coral reef atoll located in the Eastern Indian Ocean. 

Located 2700km northwest of Perth, Western Australia.The territory consists of two Atolls made up of 27 islands, of which only two – Home Island and West Island – are inhabited.


Culture

The first settlers, the Cocos Malay people of Home Island were brought to the islands in 1826. Although now all referred to as Cocos Malay’s who came from places such as Indonesia, Burma, Timor and Sumatra. There were also people of Chinese, Papuan and Indian heritage, in addition the Malay descendants.

The population of 600 people consist mainly of Cocos Malays. They speak their own dialect of Malay, known as Cocos Malay and most practice the Islamic religion.

Certain elements of the Scottish traditions have been absorbed by the Cocos Malay culture. This is mostly observed in dances, musical influences and some foods. These have all been passed down through generations.


Environment

The Cocos Keeling Islands atolls are coral atolls. It’s typical horseshoe shaped formation is affected by prevailing winds and oceans.

The islands experience two main seasons being the trade winds from June to October and the calmer doldrum season from November to May. However, no matter what season you will always experience temperate weather. The temperature hovers around 29/30deg during the doldrums and 27/28deg during the trade wind months. The average annual rainfall is 2000mm.

The 27 islands with its lagoon is an animal and plant life haven. The Coral island supports an incredible array of marine life. Even while ferrying across the islands you’ll be able to spot the Hawksbill and Green turtles, Bottlenose and Common Dolphins and Manta Rays frolicking around in the calm waters of the lagoon. In addition to this there are over 509 species of fish, 100 species of hard coral and countless hundreds more of molluscs and crustaceans.

Look above and you’ll see why the Cocos Keeling Islands is an absolute paradise for bird watchers. The remoteness has helped the islands maintain rich biodiversity and the unspoilt environment provides migratory birds the perfect place for rest and feeding. Commonly sighted birds are the Booby of various species , Frigates, White Tern, Common Noddy, Egrets and several species of Waders.