Cocos (Keeling) Islands 2020 Currency of the Clunies-Ross Era Mini Sheet of 4 Stamps MUH

Issue date: 20 October 2020

In 1825 Scottish merchant seaman John Clunies-Ross stopped at the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and in 1827 settled there permanently with his family. He recruited Malays to come to the islands to harvest the coconut palms. In 1857, the islands were annexed by the British Empire and the original John’s son, also called John Clunies-Ross (Ross II), was appointed as superintendent. In 1886, Queen Victoria granted the islands in perpetuity to John Clunies-Ross, who enjoyed official status as resident magistrate and government representative.

On 23 November 1955, the islands were transferred to Australian control under the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955, however it was not until 1978 that John Clunies-Ross was forced to relinquished control, selling the islands to Australia for $6.26 million. The Australian government initially allowed Clunies-Ross to retain ownership of the family home Oceania House, but in 1983 asked John Clunies-Ross to leave the island. The Cocos Malay community voted in a referendum of self-determination. On 6 April 1984, the Cocos Malay community voted to integrate with Australia.

For 150 years, from 1827 to 1978, the Clunies-Ross dynasty effectively ruled the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, in what has been described as a benevolent fiefdom. They styled themselves as “kings” and were called Ross I (John Clunies Ross 1786–1854), Ross II (John George Clunies-Ross II 1823–1871), Ross III (George Clunies-Ross III 1842–1910), Ross IV (John Sydney Clunies-Ross IV 1868–1944), Ross V (John Cecil Clunies-Ross (1928–)

The official currency on the island was that of the ruling country. However, from at least the 1870s, the Clunies-Ross family introduced its own currency, the Cocos Rupee, for the Cocos Malay workers on the island, redeemable only at the company store. This stamp issue features some of the currency issued by the Clunies-Ross family in the form of tokens.


SKU 50365
Shipping Weight 0.0100kg
Shipping Width 0.050m
Shipping Height 0.010m
Shipping Length 0.050m
Shipping Cubic 0.000025000m3

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