King of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands

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Clunies-Ross family, 1930s generation

King of the Cocos Islands was a title, initially given by the press[1] but later self-proclaimed, to John Clunies-Ross, a Scottish sea captain, and other members of his family.

He went to live on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in 1827. Queen Victoria granted the islands in perpetuity to the Clunies-Ross family in 1886. Thus, the title to the islands was claimed by his descendants, until 1978 when John Cecil Clunies-Ross sold the islands (under threat of expropriation) to the Commonwealth of Australia for £2.5m ($4.75m). The Commonwealth had already been administering the islands since 1955.

John Cecil Clunies-Ross currently lives in Perth, Western Australia, but his son John George Clunies-Ross (born 1957) lives on West Island.[2]

List of Kings[edit]

King Regnal Name Born-Died From Until
John Clunies-Ross Ross I 1786–1854 1827 26 May 1854
John George Clunies-Ross Ross II 1823–1871 26 May 1854 8 June 1871
George Clunies-Ross Ross III 1842–1910 8 June 1871 7 July 1910
Sydney Clunies-Ross Ross IV 1868–1944 7 July 1910 14 August 1944
John Cecil Clunies-Ross Ross V 1928– 14 August 1944 1 September 1978 [1]


  1. ^ Long, Edward E. (3 October 1903). "King of the Cocos Island". Timaru Herald, Volume LXXIX, Page 2 (Issue 12187) (Via Government of New Zealand). Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  2. ^ The man who lost a 'coral kingdom'

External links[edit]