AskDefine | Define Australasia

Dictionary Definition

Australasia n : Australia, New Zealand, and neighboring islands in the South Pacific

User Contributed Dictionary



The name was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes 1756. He derived it from the for “south of Asia


Proper noun

  1. Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and neighbouring islands
  2. all of Oceania

Usage notes

This is an ambiguous term, whose precise meaning varies considerably depending on its field of use

Derived terms


Australasia (all uses)
  • Croatian: Australazija
  • Greek: Αυστραλασία

Extensive Definition

Australasia is a region of Oceania: New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term was coined by Charles de Brosses in Histoire des navigations aux terres australes (1756). He derived it from the Latin for "south of Asia" and differentiated the area from Polynesia (to the east) and the southeast Pacific (Magellanica). It is also distinct from Micronesia (to the northeast).

Human geography

Geopolitically, Australasia is sometimes used as a term for New Zealand and Australia together, in the absence of another word limited to those two countries. Sometimes Papua New Guinea is encompassed by the term. There are many organizations whose names are prefixed with "(Royal) Australasian Society" that are limited to just New Zealand and Australia.
In the past, Australasia has been used as a name for combined Australia/New Zealand sporting teams. Examples include tennis between 1905 and 1915, when New Zealand and Australia combined its best players to compete in the Davis Cup international tournament (and won it in 1907, 1908, 1909, 1911 and 1914), and at the Olympic Games of 1908 and 1912. Australasia also competed in the 1911 Festival of Light in London, the precursor of the Commonwealth Games.
In speculative fiction or counterfactual historical analysis, it is used to describe an alternate history New Zealand and Australia which agreed to political union at Australian federation in 1901, rather than seeking divergent British Empire Dominion status in 1901 and 1907 respectively.

Ecological geography

main Australasia ecozone From an ecological perspective the Australasia ecozone is a distinct region with a common evolutionary history and a great many unique flora and fauna. In this context, Australasia is limited to Australia, New Guinea, and neighbouring islands, including the Indonesian islands from Lombok and Sulawesi eastward. The biological dividing line from Asia is the Wallace lineBorneo and Bali lie on the western, Asian side. New Zealand comprises another ecological zone altogether, as it had been isolated from the rest of the world, including the rest of Australasia, for even longer.

See also


External links

Australasia in Afrikaans: Australasië
Australasia in Franco-Provençal: Ôstralasia
Australasia in Central Bicolano: Australasya
Australasia in Bosnian: Australazija
Australasia in Bulgarian: Австралазия и Океания
Australasia in Catalan: Australàsia
Australasia in Welsh: Awstralasia
Australasia in German: Australasien
Australasia in Modern Greek (1453-): Αυστραλασία
Australasia in Spanish: Australasia
Australasia in Esperanto: Aŭstralazio
Australasia in Persian: استرالزی
Australasia in French: Australasie
Australasia in Irish: An Astraláise
Australasia in Korean: 오스트랄라시아
Australasia in Croatian: Australazija
Australasia in Indonesian: Australasia
Australasia in Icelandic: Ástralasía
Australasia in Italian: Australasia
Australasia in Latvian: Austrālāzija
Australasia in Lithuanian: Australazija
Australasia in Malay (macrolanguage): Australasia
Australasia in Dutch: Australazië
Australasia in Japanese: オーストララシア
Australasia in Javanese: Australasia
Australasia in Norwegian: Australasia
Australasia in Norwegian Nynorsk: Australasia
Australasia in Polish: Australazja
Australasia in Portuguese: Australásia
Australasia in Russian: Австралазия
Australasia in Sicilian: Australasia
Australasia in Simple English: Australasia
Australasia in Slovak: Australázia (geografia)
Australasia in Slovenian: Avstralazija
Australasia in Serbian: Аустралазија
Australasia in Serbo-Croatian: Australazija
Australasia in Finnish: Australaasia
Australasia in Swedish: Australiska regionen
Australasia in Thai: ออสตราเลเซีย
Australasia in Vietnamese: Australasia
Australasia in Ukrainian: Австралоазія
Australasia in Contenese: 澳大拉西亞洲
Australasia in Chinese: 澳大拉西亞
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