Ashmore and Cartier Islands Map

Facts about Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Ashmore and Cartier IslandsTerritory of Australia
Coordinates12° 15′ 30″ S, 123° 2′ 30″ E
Location Ashmore and Cartier Islands
Capital Canberra
Area199.45 km2 (77 sq mi)
Populationno indigenous inhabitants; Indonesian fishermen access lagoon and fresh water at Ashmore Reef's West Islet
Official languageEnglish
CurrencyAustralian Dollar
GovernmentAustralian government
Time zoneUTC +10
Dialing code:.au
Internet TLD

The Ashmore and Cartier Islands are the overseas territory of Australia located in the Indian Ocean. These are the two uninhabited groups of coral islands.

They cover an area of 5 sq kms, most of which is taken up by the lagoons.

Indonesian fishermen were the first people to visit the area around the islands from 1700. In 1800, a British captain named Nash sailed around the Cartier. He was the first European to reach the area. In 1811, Captain Samuel Ashmore discovered the Ashmore reef. American whaling ships used to visit the area from 1850s. In 1878, Britain annexed Ashmore followed by Cartier in 1909. In 1933, the territories were handed over to Australia. In 1978, the administration of Ashmore, and Cartier Islands was passed to the National government. In the mid 20th century, a treaty was negotiated between Australia and Indonesia to safeguard the traditional rights of the Indonesian fishermen.

The Ashmore islands are coral islets without a reef while the Cartier islands are sandier in comparison. They lie 320 kms to the northwest of Australia, and about 170 kms southwest to the Indonesian island of Rote. The Hibernia reef lies to the northeast of Ashmore reef, and is not a part of the territory, but falls under the domain of Western Australia. It remains submerged, but large parts are exposed during low tides.

In 1983, the Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve was established. It has significant importance regarding biodiversity. It is a nesting ground for various sea mammals, and has been declared to be an important bird area with more than 50,000 pairs of breeding marine birds. In 2000, the Cartier island marine reserve was set up covering an area of 172 sq kms. Both the reserves are closed for the visitors.

How to reach
Ashmore and Cartier Islands are uninhabited. There are no airports or ports. Only off shore anchorage is available.

The islands experience tropical weather with occasional cyclones.

Both the islands are rich in biodiversity and reserves have been set up to protect them. There are underseas oilfields adjacent to the territory. Automatic weather station has also been set up here.

Last Updated on: December 5th, 2017

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