Australian virtual states
This page highlights some past and contemporary Australian
'virtual state' projects.
It covers -
illustrate the range of motivations in establishment of
virtual states, from amiable eccentricity to protest to
Australian entrepreneur David Siminton operated an unregistered
bank, the Terra Nova Cache (promising 50% returns from
investment in shiny metals), from the so-called State
of Sherwood in the Principality of Camside - perhaps not
unfairly characterised by one critic as Scamside.
He had reportedly "declared war" on the Australian
government - although the principality does not appear
to have been much more extensive than a post office box
- and unsuccessfully called on the Prime Minister to surrender.
Siminton's assets were instead frozen
in 2005 by APRA, the Australian supervisor of financial
institutions. He has attracted attention through association
with proponents of the claim
that Elizabeth II and other notables are in fact disguised
six foot tall green skinned lizards. As of November 2007
he faced 16 months in prison for contempt of court.
In 2003 the Federal Court jailed internet trader Neal
Arthur Lyster after his failure to comply with conditions
of a suspended sentence that followed action by the Australian
Competition & Consumer Commission regarding misleading
and deceptive conduct through a site promoting 'Purple
Harmony Plates' (ACCC v Purple Harmony Plates Pty
Ltd (No 4)  FCA 49).
Justice Goldberg rejected submissions from Lyster that
decisions of the Court were void, commenting
Lyster is labouring under a delusion that he is the
head of a non-existent state and that his conduct is
beyond the reach of the laws of Australia. Mr Lyster
should realise he is quite wrong in this respect.
by Lyster that he had seceded from the Commonwealth of
Australia and was not subject to the Court's jurisdiction
were thus unconvincing. Claims of secession
or renunciation of everything from library cards and passports
to (oh so conveniently) an obligation to debts are not
uncommon. They are found for example in the US 'Christian
Identity' movement discussed here.
River Province was founded in 1970, when a Western
Australian farmer - later self-described as His Royal
Highness Prince Leonard of the Hutt River Principality
- declared his property independent after a dispute over
Unsurprisingly the principality was not recognised by
Australian national or state government agencies and courts.
Assertions of independence were disingenous and in an
echo of the 'Kingdom of Lundy'
the province/principality prospered by sharing the fruits
of its status as tourist destination with the Australian
Bumbunga & Co
inspired several less commercially successful epigones,
Brackstone's Province of Bumbunga near Snowtown in 1976
(better known for the later 'bodies in the barrels'
the Independent State of Rainbow Creek in Victoria in
Principality of Marlborough declared by farmer George
Muirhead in Queensland in 1993 (state police evicted
Muirhead after 10 days)
the United Federation of Koronis
which delightfully claims both territory in Australia
and the Koronis family of asteroids and advises that
"citizenship is open to life forms", although
"it does not yet have facilities on the asteroids
to house and look after anyone seeking asylum on our
sovereign territory and as such it will not accept any
request for asylum of any kind"
Principality of United Oceania, founded by Serene Highness
Prince Peter The First (ak Peter Gillies) at Medowie
after a dispute with Port Stephens Council in 2003
Principality of Snake Hill, near Mudgee, under Prince
Paul in 2003 ("It was necessary to secede from
Australia because two of our properties and income were
stolen through a wrongful suit")
Principality of Range View, near Gatton, under Lyall-Lindsay
Sempf in 2004
the Principality of Ponderosa in Victoria - "a
state where Christians, white Anglo-Saxons and capitalists
are not discriminated against" - but defunct after
2005 when its founders were convicted
of tax fraud
the Principality of Caledonia Australis, under H.R.H.
Prince Edward James Renton, the Prince Palatine
Principalities of Argyll, Cochrane and Woodlands (all
in Queensland) under Cecil Sempf and Sidney Esme Adel
The Duchy of Avram
in Tasmania was established in 1980 by John Rudge, holder
of a Doctorate in Sacred Theology and a Doctorate of Divinity,
degrees that were presumably useful when he appointed
himself as Cardinal, Archbishop of the Royal See of the
Continent of Australia in 1982. (Being Prince John, the
Grand Duke of Avram, Marquis of Mathra, Earl of Enoch,
Viscount Ulom, Lord Rama etc was apparently insufficient.)
After gaining attention as an anti-tax campaigner "His
Grace the Duke of Avram" established the Royal Bank
of Avram and produced his own coins and banknotes. That
provoked intervention by the Australian Federal Police
in 1985. Rudge was later elected to the Tasmanian Parliament.
He appears to have recognised Australian law in a range
of court cases, eg here.
The Duchy currently appears to be selling a range of peerages
in addition to the usual coins and banknotes.
The Sovereign State of Aeterna Lucina (aka the Sovereign
Humanitarian Mission State of Aeterna Lucina) moved around
Australia for some twenty years from 1978.
It was founded by Supreme Lord Paul Neuman, self-described
Baron Neuman of Kara Bagh, a German-born pensioner with
a penchant for awarding himself honorifics (one source
claims a mere 870 doctorates, awards and knighthoods -
usually from chivalric orders that appear to have had
a membership of one).
The state was initially located on a Neuman property near
Byron Bay, later moving to his Curl Curl residence and
then to a farm near Cooma.
Aeterna's associates gained attention in 1989 regarding
prosecutions in NSW over alleged land sale and visa offences.
It attracted criticism overseas regarding degree
mills and the sale of supposed honours. It lives on
the collectibles market, with trade in its documents and
Empire of Atlantium
boasts its own potentate, coinage, calendar and (alas)
a post office box in Potts Point, Australia.
It was founded by 15 year old George Cruickshank, who
obligingly mugged for media photographs, and claims that
legitimate, functioning, primarily non-territorial microstate
and proto-world state that possesses immanent, parallel
global sovereignty. The purpose of Atlantium is to promote
via its existence the fact that sovereignty in the modern
world does not need to ... have any form of territorial
basis, and that every individual has the right to choose
his or her citizenship irrespective of where they were
born, or where they live.
(other virtual states)