Originally Posted by Ian
There may be a more dark explanation as to how Malay or Melanesian people ended up in the Cocos Keeling Islands in the 19th C. There was a practice in northern Australia of "blackbirding" native people of the Torres Strait Islands and nearby into forced labor on sugar plantations, etc. This was essentially a form of slavery. An ugly part of Australian history that also included indigenous groups (Aborigines).
I don't know the history of the Cocos Keeling Islands well enough to say whether the Malay inhabitants went there voluntarily or not, but the Clunies-Ross family ruled these islands with absolute authority before they became part of Australia.