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Witness the First New Year in a Special Nook Near Australia

Written by Cindy Marie Jenkins on Friday, December 29th, 2017 at 1:06pm.

Once a year, all eyes are on Christmas Island. Just north of Western Australia and south of Indonesia, it holds a sacred place in the cultural zeitgeist as the first location (along with Samoa) to witness our new year. But how much do we really know about this 52 square foot island with a population of 2,000?

  • Christmas Island lies on the flattest, highest point of an underwater mountain, which is actually a volcano. This mountain rises just over 900 feet above sea level.

  • Shocker of shockers, it was named by a European explorer. Captain William Nymors spied it on Christmas Day in 1643 while aboard the English East India vessel the Royal Mary, It wasn’t until 1688 that an English navigator William Dampier got blown off course and set foot on the then empty island.

  • Buddhism is the number 1 religion on the island, with over 75% of the population identifying as Buddhists. The population and culture is incredibly diverse, with English and Chinese as the main languages spoken.

  • This population arose out of the late 19th century, when the Christmas Island Phosphate Company brought 200 Chinese workers. Their labor force grew and by 1904, over 500 had died of beriberi from the mining. It wasn’t until the 1970s, well after Christmas Island became an Australian territory, that a union was formed to protect the workers.

  • Shortly after in 1977, the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service intervened in arguments between mining and conservation to establish the first national park in 1980. By 1989, the Christmas Island National Park covered 63% of the entire island.

  • A Make-a-Wish recipient surprised his entire family by wishing to see the hermit crab migration on Christmas Island. 17 year-old Daniel had been studying biology and nature when he was diagnosed with cancer. Although it seemed like an odd request when you could wish to go nearly anywhere in the world, his family of five had an incredible experience witnessing the migration together.

Everyone here at Nook wishes you the happiest of New year's, with all the style and community that you desire. Thanks for following our journey and we'll see you in 2018!

 

Photo credit: Christmas Island Tourism 

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