1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Australasia
AUSTRALASIA, a term used by English geographers in a sense nearly synonymous with the Oceania of continental writers. 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.