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Australasia (Oceania)

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Australasia (Oceania) Collection

History Archive - Australasia (Oceania) Collection

Australasia is one of the great geographical divisions of the globe situated, as its name indicates, south of Asia, between the equator and 50 S. lat., and 110 3 and 180 E. long. The term is nearly synonymous with the Oceania. It comprises the island-continents of New Guinea, Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, and the conterminous archipelagoes of New Britannia, Solomon Islands, New Hebrides, Loyalty Islands, and New Caledonia. It thus comprises all the insular groups which extend almost continuously from the south-eastern extremity of Asia to more than half-way across the Pacific.

Its chief divisions are Malaysia with the Philippines; Australia with Tasmania and New Zealand; Melanesia, that is, New Guinea, New Britain, New Ireland, Admiralty, the Solomons, New Hebrides, Santa Cruz, Fiji, Loyalties and New Caledonia; Micronesia, that is, the Ladrones, Pelew and Carolines, with the Marshall and Gilbert groups; lastly, Polynesia, that is, Samoa, Tonga, Cook, Tahiti, the Marquesas, Ellice, Hawaii and all intervening clusters.

The term is so far justified in that it harmonizes better than Oceania did with the names of the other continents, and also embodies the two essential facts that it is a south-eastern extension of Asia, and that its central and most important division is the great island-continent of Australia. In a more restricted sense the term Australasia corresponds to the large division including Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.


See Australasia, 2 vols. Stanford Compendium Series, new issue (London, 1907-1908).

1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volume 2. pg 941

Encyclopaedia Britannica, Ninth Edition, Volume III. pg 102

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