Heard Island and McDonald Islands

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(Redirected from McDonald Islands)
Missing image
Heard Island, from NASA World Wind

Heard Island and the McDonald Islands are uninhabited, barren islands located in the Southern Ocean at Template:Coor dm, about two-thirds of the way from Madagascar to Antarctica. They have been part of Australia since 1947.

Missing image

Heard Island is bleak and mountainous, and dominated by Mawson Peak, a 2745- meter-high volcano which forms part of the Big Ben massif. Mawson Peak is the highest Australian mountain, and the only active volcano in Australian territory. The McDonald Islands are small and rocky. They total 412 km in area, and are on the Kerguelen Plateau. They have no ports or harbors.

The islands are a territory of Australia administered from Canberra by the Australian Antarctic Division of the Australian Department of the Environment and Heritage. They are populated by large numbers of seal and bird species. The islands have been designated a nature preserve and are primarily visited for research.

There is no economic activity, but they have been assigned the country code HM and Internet top-level domain .hm.


Heard Island did not have visitors until 1833. It is probable that no human had ever seen the Island until this time. Peter Kemp, a British sealer (seal hunter), was the first person thought to have seen the island on November 27, 1833 from the brig Magnet during a voyage from Kerguelen to the Antarctic, and was believed to have entered the island in his 1833 chart.

Captain John Heard, an American sealer on the ship Oriental, sighted the island on November 25, 1853 en route from Boston to Melbourne. He reported the discovery one month later and had the island named after him. Coincidentally, Captain William McDonald aboard the Samarang discovered the McDonald Islands close to Heard Island shortly afterwards on January 4, 1854.

No landing was made on the islands until March 1855, when sealers from the Corinthian led by Captain Erasmus Darwin Rogers went ashore. In the sealing period from 1855-1880, a number of American sealers spent a year or more on the island, living in appalling conditions in dark smelly huts. By 1880, most of the seal population had been wiped out and the sealers left the island. In all, more than 100,000 barrels of Elephant Seal oil was produced during this period.

The islands became a World Heritage Site in 1997.

See also

External links

Template:World Heritage Sites In Australiade:Heard- und McDonald-Inseln es:Islas Heard y McDonald fr:le Heard he:האי הרד ואיי מקדונלד ja:ハード島とマクドナルド諸島 nl:Heard- en McDonaldeilanden pl:Wyspy_Heard_i_McDonalda sl:Otok Heard in otočje McDonald sv:Heard- och McDonaldsarna


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