Coral Sea Islands


Australia-Oceania :: Coral Sea Islands (territory of Australia)

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Scattered over more than three-quarters of a million square kilometers of ocean, the Coral Sea Islands were declared a territory of Australia in 1969. They are uninhabited except for a small meteorological staff on the Willis Islets. Automated weather stations, beacons, and a lighthouse occupy many other islands and reefs. The Coral Sea Islands Act 1969 was amended in 1997 to extend the boundaries of the Coral Sea Islands Territory around Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs.


Oceania, islands in the Coral Sea, northeast of Australia

Geographic coordinates:
18 00 S, 152 00 E

Map references:

Total: less than 3 sq km
Country comparison to the world: 249
Land: less than 3 sq km
Water: 0 sq km
note: includes numerous small islands and reefs scattered over a sea area of about 780,000 sq km (300,000 sq mi) with the Willis Islets the most important

Area - comparative:

Land boundaries:
0 km

3,095 km

Maritime claims:
Territorial sea: 3 nm
Exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm


sand and coral reefs and islands (or cays)

Elevation extremes:
Lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
Highest point: unnamed location on Cato Island 6 m

Natural resources:

Land use:
Arable land: 0%
Permanent crops: 0%
Other: 100% (mostly grass or scrub cover) (2011)

Irrigated land:
0 sq km (2011)

Natural hazards:
occasional tropical cyclones

Environment - current issues:
no permanent freshwater resources

Geography - note:
important nesting area for birds and turtles

People and Society

no indigenous inhabitants
note: there is a staff of three to four at the meteorological station on Willis Island (July 2007 est.)


Country name:
Conventional long form: Coral Sea Islands Territory
Conventional short form: Coral Sea Islands

Dependency status:
territory of Australia; administered from Canberra by the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport

Legal system:
the common law legal system of Australia, where applicable, applies

Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (territory of Australia)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (territory of Australia)


Economy - overview:
no economic activity


Communications - note:
automatic weather stations on many of the isles and reefs relay data to the mainland


Ports and terminals:
none; offshore anchorage only


Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of Australia

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:

Flag of Coral Sea Islands

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Flag description:
the flag of Australia is used