The Coral Sea Islands Territory is an external territory of Australia which comprises a group of small and mostly uninhabited tropical islands and reefs in the Coral Sea , northeast of Queensland , Australia.
The only inhabited island is Willis Island. Cato Island is the highest point in the Territory.
The Coral Sea Islands were first charted in In the s and s the islands were mined for guano but the absence of a reliable supply of fresh water prevented long-term habitation. The islands, cays and reefs of the Great Barrier Reef are not part of the territory, belonging to Queensland instead. The territory is a possession or external territory of Australia , administered from Canberra by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities.
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There is no economic activity except for a significant but as yet unquantified charter fishing and diving industry , and only a staff of three or four people to run the meteorological station on Willis Island South Islet , established in The Supreme Court of Norfolk Island has jurisdiction over the islands,  however, the laws of the Australian Capital Territory apply. In , the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands was declared as a sovereign state as a symbolic political protest by a group of gay rights activists based in Australia in response to the Australian government's refusal to recognise same-sex marriages.
The Kingdom was dissolved on 17 November following results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey indicated a majority of Australians supported same-sex marriage. There are about 30 separate reefs and atolls , twelve being wholly submerged or drying only during low tide, and 18 others with a total of about 51 islets and cays 18 alone on the atoll Lihou Reef , some of which are vegetated.
The atolls exhibit a wide range of size, from a few kilometres in diameter to perhaps the second largest atoll in the world by total area including lagoon : Lihou Reef , with a lagoon size of by 30 kilometres 62 by 19 miles and an area of 2, square kilometres square miles , which compares to a combined land area of the 18 individual islets of only 0.
The islands are all very low. The Willis Islets are important nesting areas for birds and turtles but contain negligible natural resources.
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They comprise less than three square kilometres 1. There is no port or harbour, only offshore anchorage.
The Battle of the Coral Sea 1942: The First Aircraft Carrier Battle in History
Most of the atolls fall into two groups, while Mellish Reef to the east, and Middleton Reef and Elizabeth Reef to the south are grouped separately:. The Nature Reserves were created to protect wildlife in the respective areas of the territory; together they form the Coral Sea Reserves Ramsar Site. Their location, where tropical and temperate ocean currents meet, contributes to an unusually diverse assemblage of marine species.
These mostly submerged atolls which dry only during low tide were added to the territory only in They are located on the Lord Howe Rise. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
10 Facts on the Coral Sea
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