Map - Macquarie Island

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Macquarie Island

Macquarie Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lies in the southwest Pacific Ocean, about halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica. Regionally part of Oceania and politically a part of Tasmania, Australia since 1900, it became a Tasmanian State Reserve in 1978 and was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997.

It was a part of Esperance Municipality until 1993 when the municipality was merged with other municipalities to form Huon Valley Council. The island is home to the entire royal penguin population during their annual nesting season. Ecologically, the island is part of the Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra ecoregion.

Since 1948 the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) has maintained a permanent base, the Macquarie Island Station, on the isthmus at the northern end of the island at the foot of Wireless Hill. The population of the base, the island's only human inhabitants, usually varies from 20 to 40 people over the year. A heliport is located near the base.

In September 2016, the Australian Antarctic Division said it would close its research station on the island in 2017. However, shortly afterwards the Australian government responded to widespread backlash to the decision by announcing funding to upgrade ageing infrastructure and continue existing operations at Macquarie Island.

The Australian-Briton Frederick Hasselborough discovered the uninhabited island accidentally on 11 July 1810 when looking for new sealing grounds. He claimed Macquarie Island for Britain and annexed it to the colony of New South Wales in 1810. The island took its name after colonel Lachlan Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales from 1810 to 1821. Hasselborough reported a wreck "of ancient design", which has given rise to speculation that the island may have been visited before by Polynesians or others.

Richard Siddins and his crew ended up being shipwrecked in Hasselborough Bay on 11 June 1812. Joseph Underwood sent the ship Elizabeth and Mary to the island to rescue the remaining crew. When Siddins landed on Macquarie island in 1812, he met the Russian explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen there.

The sealing era on the island lasted from 1810 to 1919, during which time 144 vessel visits are recorded, twelve of which ended when the vessel was wrecked. Sealers' relics include iron try pots, casks, hut ruins, graves and inscriptions.

Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, who explored the area for Alexander I of Russia, produced the first map of Macquarie Island. Bellingshausen landed on the island on 28 November 1820, defined its geographical position and traded his rum and food for Macquarie Island's fauna with the sealers. Between 1810 and 1919, seals and then penguins were hunted almost to the point of extinction. The conditions on the island and the surrounding seas were considered so harsh that a plan to use it as a penal settlement was rejected.

In 1877, the crew of the schooner Bencleugh was shipwrecked on the islands for four months; folklore says they came to believe there was hidden treasure on the island. The ship's owner, John Sen Inches Thomson, wrote a book on his sea travels, including his time on the island. The book, written in 1912, was entitled Voyages and Wanderings In Far-off Seas and Lands.

The Tasmanian Government leased the island to Joseph Hatch (1837–1928) between 1902 and 1920 for his oil industry based on harvesting penguins. 

Map - Macquarie Island

Latitude / Longitude : 54° 36' 35" S / 158° 51' 32" E | Time zone : UTC+11 | Currency : AUD | Telephone : 61  

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Country - Australia

Flag of Australia
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century. It is documented that Aborigines spoke languages that can be classified into about 250 groups. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day. The population grew steadily in subsequent decades, and by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established. On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated, forming the Commonwealth of Australia. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories.
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