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ExpatSingapore Message Board 26 October 2014, 2:12:30 AM *
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Author Topic: Why was Christmas Island given to Australia?  (Read 16652 times)
Aceman
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« on: 09 April 2003, 8:39:00 AM »

Was just reading about the island. Its 2 hrs from Spore and 4 hrs from Perth. Population is like 70% Chinese, 20% Malays, 10% Europeans. It was handed over to the Australians. It had to do with the Commonwealth thing and all. But why was this decision made. Did we get anything else, besides the 2.9million pounds? Maybe, being a colony, Singapore did not have much of a say in how the colonies were divided when they broke away to be independent Commonwealth States. Was there a big hue and cry? My question is how did this decision come about? I find this pretty interesting, and if someone has done some background on it, appreciate if you could share it here. thanks.


Some History- In 1957 the Australian government acquired Christmas Island from the Singapore Government for a compensation of 2.9 million pounds. The island existed as a Crown colony until its transfer to Australia was finalised on 1st October 1958, which is still celebrated on the first Monday in October as Territory Day.
Singapore

CHRISTMAS ISLAND ACT 1958 - SECT 5
Acceptance of Christmas Island


Christmas Island is declared to be accepted by the Commonwealth as a Territory under the authority of the Commonwealth and shall be known as the Territory of Christmas Island. CHRISTMAS ISLAND ACT 1958
- SECT 6
Transfer of rights, liabilities etc. to Commonwealth


(1)
All property, rights and powers in or in connexion with Christmas Island which, immediately before the proclaimed date, were held or enjoyed by or on behalf of the Queen in right of the United Kingdom or of the Colony of Christmas Island, or by or on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom or of the Colony of Christmas Island, shall, from and including that date, be deemed to be held or enjoyed by or on behalf of the Commonwealth.

(2)
Subject to subsection (3), all liabilities and obligations incurred before the proclaimed date by or on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom, the Government of the Colony of Singapore or the Government of the Colony of Christmas Island in or in connexion with Christmas Island and subsisting immediately before that date shall, from and including that date, be deemed to have been incurred by or on behalf of the Commonwealth.

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« on: 09 April 2003, 8:39:00 AM »



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PhilM
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« Reply #1 on: 09 April 2003, 9:26:00 AM »

Christmas Island was originally annexed by Great Britain in 1888 as extensive phosphate deposits were discovered there. In reality it was not Singapore who transferred the territory to Australia but the British Government – Singapore had not achieved independence in 1958. Christmas Island although a long way off had been administered as a part of the colony of Singapore

The sad reason behind the transfer is Great Britain in partnership with Australia has used Christmas Island as a base along with Woomera for testing of the first British Nuclear weapons between 1952-58. You can read more about these tests first on the official UK site below.
http://www.keconnect.co.uk/~defcon/history.htm

You might also like to look at this web site which gives much fuller information on the testing plus the later USA involvement in testing.
http://www.janeresture.com/christmas_bombs/index.htm

Transfer of Christmas Island was by way of a “Thank You” for the use of Woomera which as a result was then allowed to carry on for many years afterwards. Although Christmas Island became Australian territory it was still used by the UK for many years afterwards.

My own interest in the history of Christmas Island was because my Father was a Squadron Leader in the Royal Air Force involved in the testing and I visited there and Woomera during my own time in the military.

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Aceman
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« Reply #2 on: 09 April 2003, 11:27:00 AM »

Thank you my friend.
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Jetho Tull
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« Reply #3 on: 09 April 2003, 14:25:00 PM »

I went to Christmas Island about 18 months ago.

It's a very strange place.....it feels very isolated.

Anyway, the phosphate business is more-or-less finished. To save the island's economy the Australian Government has done a deal with a (Korean?) company to turn it into a satellite launch facility.

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