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Heard Island and McDonald Islands

Heard Island and the McDonald Islands are uninhabited, barren, antarctic islands transferred from the United Kingdom to Australia in 1947. Heard Island is bleak and mountainous, with a quiescent volcano (Big Ben, 2745 meters); the McDonald Islands are small and rocky. The islands are located in the Indian Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Madagascar to Antarctica, at 53°6'S, 72°31'E. They total 412 square kilometers. They have no ports or harbors, only offshore anchorages.

The islands are a territory of Australia administered from Canberra by the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories. Defense is the responsibility of Australia. They are populated by large numbers of seal and bird species. The islands have been designated a nature preserve and are primarily used for research stations. There is no economic activity, but they have been assigned the country code (top-level Internet domain) HM.

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