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Flag of Christmas Island

Christmas Island country facts

Territory of Christmas Island Australia-Oceania The Settlement 1,530 inhabitants 135 sq km 11.33 inhabitants/sq km Australian dollars (AUD) territory of Australia population evolution



Named in 1643 for the day of its discovery, the island was annexed and settlement began by the UK in 1888 with the discovery of the island's phosphate deposits. Following the Second World War, Christmas Island came under the jurisdiction of the new British Colony of Singapore. The island existed as a separate Crown colony from 1 January 1958 to 1 October 1958 when its transfer to Australian jurisdiction was finalized. That date is still celebrated on the first Monday in October as Territory Day. Almost two-thirds of the island has been declared a national park.



Southeastern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia

Geographic coordinates

10 30 S, 105 40 E

Area (sq km)

total: 135 sq km
land: 135 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative (sq km)

about three-quarters the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries (km)

0 km

Coastline (km)

138.9 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


tropical with a wet season (December to April) and dry season; heat and humidity moderated by trade winds


steep cliffs along coast rise abruptly to central plateau

Elevation extremes (m)

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: Murray Hill 361 m

Natural resources

phosphate, beaches

Land use (%)

arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (mainly tropical rainforest; 63% of the island is a national park) (2011)

Irrigated land (sq km)


Natural hazards

the narrow fringing reef surrounding the island can be a maritime hazard

Environment - current issues

loss of rainforest; impact of phosphate mining

Geography - note

located along major sea lanes of Indian Ocean

People and Society


noun: Christmas Islander(s)
adjective: Christmas Island

Ethnic groups (%)

Chinese 70%, European 20%, Malay 10%
note: no indigenous population (2001)

Languages (%)

English (official), Chinese, Malay

Religions (%)

Buddhist 36%, Muslim 25%, Christian 18%, other 21% (1997)


1,530 (July 2014 est.)   evolution and prospects (1950-2100)

Population growth rate (%)

1.11% (2014 est.)

Sex ratio (male(s)/female)

NA (2009 est.)

Infant mortality rate (deaths/1,000 live births)

total: NA
male: NA
female: NA

Life expectancy at birth (years)

total population: NA
male: NA
female: NA

Total fertility rate (children born/woman)

NA (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate (%)


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Literacy (%)



Country name

conventional long form: Territory of Christmas Island
conventional short form: Christmas Island

Dependency status

non-self governing territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport

Government type



name: The Settlement
geographic coordinates: 10 25 S, 105 43 E
time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

none (territory of Australia)


none (territory of Australia)

National holiday

Australia Day, 26 January (1788)


1 October 1958 (Christmas Island Act 1958); amended many times, last in 2010 (Territories Law Reform Act 2010) (2010)

Legal system

legal system is under the authority of the governor general of Australia and Australian law


18 years of age

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952) represented by the Australian governor general
head of government: Administrator Jon STANHOPE (since 5 October 2012)
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Australian prime minister; administrator appointed by the governor general of Australia for a two-year term and represents the monarch and Australia

Legislative branch

unicameral Christmas Island Shire Council (9 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: held every two years with half the members standing for election; last held In 2011 (next to be held in 2013)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats - independents 9

Judicial branch

highest court(s): under the terms of the Territorial Law Reform Act 1992, Western Australia provides court services as needed for the island including the Supreme Court and subordinate courts (District Court, Magistrate Court, Family Court, Children's Court, and Coroners' Court)
judge selection and term of office:
subordinate courts:

Political parties and leaders


Political pressure groups and leaders


International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

none (territory of Australia)

Diplomatic representation from the US

none (territory of Australia)

Flag description

territorial flag; divided diagonally from upper hoist to lower fly; the upper triangle is green with a yellow image of the Golden Bosun Bird superimposed; the lower triangle is blue with the Southern Cross constellation, representing Australia, superimposed; a centered yellow disk displays a green map of the island
note: the flag of Australia is used for official purposes

National symbol(s)

golden bosun bird

National anthem

note: as a territory of Australia, "Advance Australia Fair" remains official as the national anthem, while "God Save the Queen" serves as the royal anthem (see Australia)


Economy - overview

The main economic activities on Christmas Island are the mining of low grade phosphate, limited tourism, the provision of government services and more recently the construction and operation of the Immigration Detention Center. The government sector includes administration, health, education, policing, customs, quarantine and defense.

GDP (purchasing power parity)


Labor force



revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA

Agriculture - products



tourism, phosphate extraction (near depletion)



Exports - commodities (%)




Imports - commodities (%)

consumer goods

Exchange rates

Currency converter
Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
1.031 (2013)
0.9658 (2012)
1.0902 (2010)
1.2822 (2009)
1.2059 (2008)

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June


Telephone system

general assessment: service provided by the Australian network
domestic: GSM mobile-cellular telephone service replaced older analog system in February 2005
international: country code - 61-8; satellite earth station - 1 (Intelsat provides telephone and telex service) (2005)

Broadcast media

1 community radio station; satellite broadcasts of several Australian radio and TV stations (2009)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

3,028 (2012)

Internet users

464 (2001)



1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

Railways (km)

total: 18 km
standard gauge: 18 km 1.435-m (not in operation) (2010)

Roadways (km)

total: 140 km
paved: 30 km
unpaved: 110 km (2011)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Flying Fish Cove


Military - note

defense is the responsibility of Australia

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international


Largest cities of Christmas Island

These are the 50 largest cities of Christmas Island ordered based on their number of inhabitants.

# City Population