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At , the heavily damaged Emden beached herself on North Keeling Island. The Australian warship broke to pursue Emden ' s supporting collier , which scuttled herself, then returned to North Keeling Island at At this point, Emden ' s battle ensign was still flying: usually a sign that a ship intends to continue fighting.

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After no response to instructions to lower the ensign, two salvoes were shot into the beached cruiser, after which the Germans lowered the flag and raised a white sheet. Sydney had orders to ascertain the status of the transmission station, but returned the next day to provide medical assistance to the Germans. Casualties totaled personnel aboard Emden killed, and 69 wounded, compared to four killed and 16 wounded aboard Sydney.

The German survivors were taken aboard the Australian cruiser, which caught up to the troop convoy in Colombo on 15 November, then transported to Malta and handed over the prisoners to the British Army. An additional 50 German personnel from the shore party, unable to be recovered before Sydney arrived, commandeered a schooner and escaped from Direction Island, eventually arriving in Constantinople.

Emden was the last active Central Powers warship in the Indian or Pacific Ocean, which meant troopships from Australia and New Zealand could sail without naval escort, and Allied ships could be deployed elsewhere. During World War II , the cable station was once again a vital link. The Cocos were valuable for direction finding by the Y service , the worldwide intelligence system used during the war.

Allied planners noted that the islands might be seized as an airfield for German planes and as a base for commerce raiders operating in the Indian Ocean. To avoid drawing their attention to the Cocos cable station and its islands' garrison, the seaplane anchorage between Direction and Horsburgh islands was not used. Radio transmitters were also kept silent, except in emergencies. The islands' garrison initially consisted of a platoon from the British Army's King's African Rifles , located on Horsburgh Island, with two 6-inch The local inhabitants all lived on Home Island.

Despite the importance of the islands as a communication centre, the Japanese made no attempt either to raid or to occupy them and contented themselves with sending over a reconnaissance aircraft about once a month. On the night of 8—9 May , 15 members of the garrison, from the Ceylon Defence Force , mutinied under the leadership of Gratien Fernando. The mutineers were said to have been provoked by the attitude of their British officers and were also supposedly inspired by Japanese anti-British propaganda.

They attempted to take control of the gun battery on the islands.

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The Cocos Islands Mutiny was crushed, but the mutineers murdered one non-mutinous soldier and wounded one officer. Seven of the mutineers were sentenced to death at a trial that was later alleged to have been improperly conducted, though the guilt of the accused was admitted. Four of the sentences were commuted, but three men were executed, including Fernando. These were to be the only British Commonwealth soldiers executed for mutiny during the Second World War. On 25 December , the Japanese submarine I bombarded the islands but caused no damage.

Later in the war, two airstrips were built, and three bomber squadrons were moved to the islands to conduct raids against Japanese targets in South East Asia and to provide support during the planned reinvasion of Malaya and reconquest of Singapore.

When in July No. Run by airmen in their off-duty hours, it achieved fame when dropped by Liberator bombers on POW camps over the heads of the Japanese guards. In , the administration of the islands reverted to Singapore and it became part of the Colony of Singapore.

On 23 November , the islands were transferred from the United Kingdom to the Commonwealth of Australia. Immediately before the transfer the islands were part of the United Kingdom's Colony of Singapore , in accordance with the Straits Settlements Repeal Act, of the United Kingdom [30] and the British Settlements Acts, and , as applied by the Act of The reason for this comparatively complex machinery was due to the terms of the Straits Settlement Repeal Act, According to Sir Kenneth Roberts-Wray "any other procedure would have been of doubtful validity".

Hull was appointed the first official representative now administrator of the new territory. He had been a lieutenant-commander in the Royal Australian Navy and was released for the purpose. A media release at the end of October by the Minister for Territories, Hasluck, commended Hull's three years of service on Cocos. Stokes served in the position from 31 October to 30 September His son's boyhood memories and photos of the Islands have been published.

In , Ken Mullen wrote a small book [34] about his time with wife and son from to working at the Cable Station on Direction Island. In the s, the Australian government's dissatisfaction with the Clunies-Ross feudal style of rule of the island increased. By agreement, the family retained ownership of Oceania House, their home on the island.

In , the Australian government reneged on this agreement and told John Clunies-Ross that he should leave the Cocos. The following year the High Court of Australia ruled that resumption of Oceania House was unlawful, but the Australian government ordered that no government business was to be granted to Clunies-Ross's shipping company, an action that contributed to his bankruptcy. However, some members of the Clunies-Ross family still live on the Cocos. Extensive preparations were undertaken by the government of Australia to prepare the Cocos Malays to vote in their referendum of self-determination.

Discussions began in , with an aim of holding the referendum, under United Nations supervision, in mid Under guidelines developed by the UN Decolonization Committee, residents were to be offered three choices: full independence, free association, or integration with Australia. The last option was preferred by both the islanders and the Australian government. A change in government in Canberra following the March Australian elections delayed the vote by one year.

NewspaperSG - Singapore Herald, 28 October

While the Home Island Council stated a preference for a traditional communal consensus "vote", the UN insisted on a secret ballot. The referendum was held on 6 April , with all eligible islanders participating, including the Clunies-Ross family: voted for integration, 21 for Free Association, nine for independence, and two failed to indicate a preference. Governance of the islands is based on the Cocos Keeling Islands Act [38] [39] and depends heavily on the laws of Australia. The islands are administered from Canberra by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities through a non-resident Administrator appointed by the Governor-General.

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They were previously the responsibility of the Department of Transport and Regional Services before , the Attorney-General's Department — , and Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development — [40] [41]. The Act also gives Western Australian courts judicial power over the islands. The Cocos Islands remain constitutionally distinct from Western Australia, however; the power of the state to legislate for the territory is power delegated by the federal government. The kind of services typically provided by a state government elsewhere in Australia are provided by departments of the Western Australian Government, and by contractors, with the costs met by the federal government.

A full term lasts four years, though elections are held every two years; approximately half the members retire each two years. Cocos Keeling Islands residents who are Australian citizens also vote in federal elections. Defence is the responsibility of the Australian Defence Force. There are no active military installations or defence personnel on the islands.

The Administrator may request the assistance of the Australian Defence Force if required. Civilian law enforcement and community policing is provided by the Australian Federal Police.

The normal deployment to the island is one sergeant and one constable. These are augmented by two locally engaged Special Members who have police powers.


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Since , court services have been provided by the Western Australian Department of the Attorney-General under a service delivery arrangement with the Australian Government. Magistrates and judges from Western Australia convene a circuit court as required. The population of the islands is approximately There is a small and growing tourist industry focused on water-based or nature activities.

Singapore Herald, 28 October 1970

Small local gardens and fishing contribute to the food supply, but most food and most other necessities must be imported from Australia or elsewhere. Tourism employs others. The unemployment rate was 6. The Cocos Islands are strategically important because of their proximity to shipping lanes in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

James Cogan has written for the World Socialist Web Site that the plan to station surveillance drones at Cocos is one component of former US President Barack Obama 's "pivot" towards Asia, facilitating control of the sea lanes and potentially allowing US forces to enforce a blockade against China.

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The Cocos Keeling Islands have fifteen kilometres 9. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ungku Aziz, laid down the rule m a recent directive. Otherwise, it will begin automatically on Sunday.