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Research Guides


Collections in Perth: A Guide to Commonwealth Government Records


25. Territories

Christmas Island

Image 8: European bungalow, Christmas Island.

Image 8: European bungalow, Christmas Island.
NAA: K733, VOLUME 1
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Christmas Island is located in the Indian Ocean 2 623 kilometres north-west of Perth. It is 19 kilometres long and 14 kilometres wide, with an area of 135 000 hectares.

From the middle of nineteenth century, British Governors in Ceylon or Singapore administered the island through the Straits Settlements Office. After 1909, the island was administered as a British possession by the Colony of Singapore, but it became an Australian Territory on 1 October 1958 with the proclamation of the Christmas Island Act 1958.

The first European settlement on the island was established at Flying Fish Cove in 1888 by George Clunies-Ross who, together with Sir John Murray, a British naturalist, was granted the first land lease. Murray analysed specimens of rock and soil taken from the island and found them to be composed of nearly pure phosphate of lime. Phosphate mining on the island commenced in 1897 with the formation of the Christmas Island Phosphate Company Limited.

The island was occupied by Japanese forces from March 1942 until the end of World War II in 1945. In 1948 the Australian and New Zealand Governments and the British Phosphate Commissioners who carried out mining operations on behalf of both Governments acquired the Christmas Island Phosphate Company's interests.

From 1958 administration of the Territory was the responsibility of an Official Representative of the Australian Government. This arrangement was altered in 1968 with the appointment of an Administrator who reported to the Minister for Territories.

The Agencies

The Perth Office of the National Archives holds a range of records about the administration of the island. Selected series are listed below.

  • 1909–48: Christmas Island Phosphate Company (CA 6799)
  • 1909–57: Colony of the Straits Settlements (from 1946, Singapore) District Office, Christmas Island (CA 1323)
  • 1948–81: The British Phosphate Commissioners, Fremantle, WA (CA 7274)
  • 1958: Administrator, Christmas Island (CA 1324)
  • 1958–68: Official Representative, Christmas Island (CA 1325)
  • 1968–: Administrator, Christmas Island (CA 1326)

The Records

PHOTOGRAPH ALBUMS, MINING ACTIVITIES ON CHRISTMAS ISLAND, 1909–87 (CONTENTS RANGE: 1909–69)
Perth
This series contains 15 albums of photographs of phosphate mining activities on Christmas Island.
Series: K733
Quantity: 3.24 metres
Recorded by: 1909–48: Christmas Island Phosphate Company (CA 6799); 1949–81: Christmas Island Phosphate Commission (CA 281)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 'DOXI' PREFIX, 1945–58
Perth
The series was used to document the administration of the island. The majority of records in the series were destroyed during the Japanese occupation of 1942–46. The remaining records illustrate the post-war policies and practices of the British colonial administration.
Series: N1
Quantity: 1.08 metres
Recorded by: 1945–57: Colony of the Straits Settlements (from 1946, the Singapore) District Office, Christmas Island (CA 1323)
CHRISTMAS ISLAND HARBOUR MASTER'S DIARIES, CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, 1950–58
Perth
This series consists of diaries kept by the Christmas Island harbourmaster, containing records of weather observations and ship arrivals, departures, maintenance and repairs.
Series: K1088
Quantity: 0.36 metres
Recorded by: 1950–57: Colony of the Straits Settlements (from 1946, Singapore) District Office, Christmas Island (CA 1323); 1958: Administrator, Christmas Island (CA 1324); 1958: Official Representative, Christmas Island (CA 1325)
PHOTOGRAPH ALBUMS, 1951–72
Perth
This series contains three albums of photographs of phosphate mining activities on Christmas Island, Nauru and Ocean Island.
Series: PP2069/11
Quantity: 0.54 metres
Recorded by: 1951–72: The British Phosphate Commissioners, Fremantle, WA (CA 7274)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 'ACI' PREFIX, 1958–59 (CONTENTS RANGE: 1946–75)
Perth
Records in this series deal with the policies of the outgoing British colonial administration and the incoming administration during the island's transition to Australian Territory.
Series: N2
Quantity: 1.08 metres
Recorded by: 1958–59: Official Representative, Christmas Island (CA 1325)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1958– (CONTENTS RANGE: 1947–94)
Perth
This is the main correspondence series of the Christmas Island Administration.
Series: N7
Quantity: 22.68 metres
Recorded by: 1958: Administrator, Christmas Island (CA 1324); 1958–68: Official Representative, Christmas Island (CA 1325); 1968–: Administrator, Christmas Island [II] (CA 1326)
CHRISTMAS ISLAND ADMINISTRATION REGISTERS, REPORTS, BRIEFINGS, PUBLICATIONS, ETC, 1961–
Perth
This series consists of papers and documents either created or acquired by the Christmas Island Administration. Among the records are daily report books (prepared by the 'Kathi'), minutes of meetings, staff listings, consultants' reports and briefing notes for the Administrator.
Series: N8
Quantity: 0.54 metres
Recorded by: 1961–68: Official Representative, Christmas Island (CA 1325); 1968–: Administrator, Christmas Island [II] (CA 1326)

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are an Australian Territory located in the Indian Ocean some 2 800 kilometres north-west of Perth. The Territory consists of 27 coral islands in two atolls with a total land area of about 14 square kilometres.

From the middle of the nineteenth century, British Governors in Ceylon or Singapore administered the islands through the Straits Settlements Office. The islands were later administered as a British possession by the Colony of Singapore until they became an Australian Territory with the proclamation of the Cocos (Keeling) Island Act 1955. From 1955, administration of the Territory was the responsibility of an Official Representative of the Australian Government.

The Agencies

The Perth Office of the National Archives holds a wide range of records documenting the administration of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands after 1955.

In addition to the administration and correspondence series, the Perth Office holds records created by other Government agencies responsible for services on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Agencies such as the Bureau of Meteorology, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Australian Construction Services and the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service created records that fall into this category.

Other offices of the National Archives also hold records about the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

  • 1952–: Cocos Island Airport (CA 4873)
  • 1955–59: Cocos (Keeling) Islands Administration (CA 3802)

The Records

COPIES OF INWARDS AND OUTWARDS CORRESPONDENCE, CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, 1955–59
Perth
Series: K810
Quantity: 0.54 metres
Recorded by: 1955–59: Cocos (Keeling) Islands Administration (CA 3802)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, SECOND SYSTEM, 1955–
Perth
The files in this series document various activities of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Administration.
Series: K812
Quantity: 1.62 metres
Recorded by: 1955–: Cocos (Keeling) Islands Administration (CA 3802)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, FIRST SYSTEM, 1956–67
Perth
This series contains correspondence files on the administration of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
Series: K811
Quantity: 0.9 metres
Recorded by: 1956–67: Cocos (Keeling) Islands Administration (CA 3802)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, ALPHABETICAL PREFIXES, 1955–73
Perth
This series contains classified correspondence files.
Series: K813
Quantity: 0.36 metres
Recorded by: 1955–73: Cocos (Keeling) Islands Administration (CA 3802)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, FIRST SYSTEM, 1955–60
Perth
This series contains correspondence files on the administration of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
Series: K816
Quantity: 0.72 metres
Recorded by: 1955–60: Cocos (Keeling) Islands Administration (CA 3802)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, 1953–63
Perth
This series contains correspondence files on the administration and control of aviation and support facilities on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
Series: PP559/1
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1953–63: Cocos Island Airport (CA 4873)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1967–74
Perth
Series: PP559/2
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1967–74: Cocos Island Airport (CA 4873)

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