- Art Gallery -



Ashmore and Cartier Islands (Australia-Oceania)

Introduction ::Ashmore and Cartier Islands


These uninhabited islands came under Australian authority in 1931; formal administration began two years later. Ashmore Reef supports a rich and diverse avian and marine habitat; in 1983, it became a National Nature Reserve. Cartier Island, a former bombing range, became a marine reserve in 2000.

Geography ::Ashmore and Cartier Islands


Southeastern Asia, islands in the Indian Ocean, midway between northwestern Australia and Timor island

Geographic coordinates:
12 14 S, 123 05 E

Map references:



total: 5 sq km country comparison to the world: 246 land: 5 sq km

water: 0 sq km

note: includes Ashmore Reef (West, Middle, and East Islets) and Cartier Island

Area - comparative:

about eight times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries:

0 km


74.1 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 12 nm

exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation




low with sand and coral

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m

highest point: unnamed location 3 m

Natural resources:


Land use:

arable land: 0%

permanent crops: 0%

other: 100% (all grass and sand) (2005)

Irrigated land:

0 sq km

Natural hazards:

surrounded by shoals and reefs that can pose maritime hazards

Environment - current issues:

illegal killing of protected wildlife by traditional Indonesian fisherman, as well as fishing by non-traditional Indonesian vessels, are ongoing problems

Geography - note:

Ashmore Reef National Nature Reserve established in August 1983;
Cartier Island Marine Reserve established in 2000

People ::Ashmore and Cartier Islands


no indigenous inhabitants

note: Indonesian fishermen are allowed access to the lagoon and fresh water at Ashmore Reef's West Island; access to East and Middle Islands is by permit only

Government ::Ashmore and Cartier Islands

Country name:

conventional long form: Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands

conventional short form: Ashmore and Cartier Islands

Dependency status:

territory of Australia; administered by the Australian Government Attorney-General's Department

Legal system:

the laws of the Commonwealth of Australia and the laws of the Northern Territory of Australia where applicable apply

Diplomatic representation in the US:

none (territory of Australia)

Diplomatic representation from the US:

none (territory of Australia)

Flag description:

the flag of Australia is used

Economy ::Ashmore and Cartier Islands

Economy - overview:

no economic activity

Transportation ::Ashmore and Cartier Islands

Ports and terminals:

none; offshore anchorage only

Military ::Ashmore and Cartier Islands

Military - note:

defense is the responsibility of Australia; periodic visits by the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force

Transnational Issues ::Ashmore and Cartier Islands

Disputes - international:

as the closest Australian territory to Indonesia, these islands became the target of human traffickers for the landing of illegal immigrants; in 2001, the Australian government removed these islands from the Australian Migration Zone making illegal arrivals ineligible for temporary visas and entry into Australia


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