Australian micronationalism

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Australian micronationalism has attracted huge media attention, and comprises a number of unique micronations, micronationalists, culture, developments and intermicronational organisations. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the American-based Mashable, Australia has the highest number of micronations of any other country.[1][2]

Large developments in Australian and New Zealand micronationalism occurred in the final three decades of the 20th century, and following the rise of the Internet in the late 90s and early 2000s, Australian micronations became increasingly more prominent and gained more interest from the media.

History

Developments in the final three decades of the 20th century

The Principality of Hutt River

Leonard Casley (28 August 1925 – 13 February 2019)[3] declared the Principality of Hutt River an independent province in 1970 in response to a dispute with the government of Western Australia over what the Casley family considered draconian wheat production quotas. The Casley farm had around 4,000 hectares (9,900 acres) of wheat ready to harvest when the quotas were issued, which allowed Casley to sell only 1,647 bushels or approximately 40 hectares (99 acres).[4] Initially, the five families who owned farms at Hutt River banded together to fight the quota,[citation needed] and Casley lodged a protest with the Governor of Western Australia, Sir Douglas Kendrew. The Governor did not assist. In December 2019 the principality announced that it would close its borders and cease its external government services as of 31 January 2020, until further notice.[5] On 3 August 2020 the principality formally dissolved.[6]

In 1976 the Province of Bumbunga was created on a rural property near Snowtown, South Australia, by an eccentric British monarchist Alec Brackstone, a British monkey trainer, uranium prospector, and postmaster. Brackstone was later arrested in 1999 and charged with possession of illegal firearms. His assertion of diplomatic immunity due to his status as Bumbunga's sovereign was unsuccessful but, according to Brackstone, the charges were ultimately dropped nevertheless. In 2018 Brackstone was interviewed at his residence in Clare, South Australia, still claiming to be Governor of the province which had been inactive since approximately 2000.[7]

The Sovereign State of Aeterna Lucina,[8] referred to in some court transcripts as the Sovereign Humanitarian Mission State of Aeterna Lucina,[9] was an Australian micronation that existed between 1978 until the death of its founder in the 1990s. The state of Aeterna Lucina came to public attention in 1990 when several people associated with it, including a leading Sydney businessman, faced fraud charges relating to visa and land sale offences in the New South Wales court system.[8][10][11]

The Grand Duchy of Avram is a non-territorial micronation founded in the early 1980s by Tasmanian John Charlton Rudge,[12] who styles himself the "Grand Duke of Avram". It is based in Australia.

The Empire of Atlantium was established in 1981 by three Sydney teenagers – George Cruickshank, Geoffrey John Duggan and Claire Marie Coulter (née Duggan). The three claimed a 10 square metres (110 sq ft) "provisional territory" in the southern suburb of Narwee as Atlantium's first capital, and declared Cruickshank to be Sovereign Head of state, with the title "Emperor George II".[13][14] However by 1990, when the original group members had graduated from university and moved away, the group ceased to be active. In 1999 Cruickshank purchased an apartment in the inner Sydney suburb of Potts Point, and soon after revived Atlantium, launching a website, which was instrumental in attracting new members. The 61 square metres (660 sq ft) apartment, known as the Imperium Proper, became the second capital of Atlantium.[14] Concordia became the third capital of Atlantium on 12 January 2008, when the rural 0.76 square kilometres (0.29 sq mi) Province of Aurora, approximately 350 kilometres (220 mi) southwest of Sydney, was created. The Atlantium website describes Aurora as Atlantium's "global administrative capital, ceremonial focal point and spiritual homeland".[15]

The Principality of Marlborough was a short-lived micronation in 1993 whose creator declared his farm an independent country to try to avoid eviction after bankruptcy. He was evicted less than a week later by police, was later prosecuted and has since abandoned any claim of independence.[16]

2000s

In 2003, a family of Australian residents could no longer afford to pay taxes, and after litigation over a mortgage and being Inspired by the Principality of Hutt River, they did legal research and came to the conclusion that forming a country would be completely legal under Australian law, and they thus declared the Principality of Snake Hill independent on 2 September 2003.[17] In late February 2011, a judge of the Supreme Court of Australia dismissed the Snake Hillers' argument that the bank's actions were outside the jurisdiction of the court, and that it was a matter of international law and must be referred to the High Court of Australia or the International Court of Justice.[18]

In 2004, Paul Delprat claimed to secede from the Sydney suburb of Mosman and developed his own micronation the Principality of Wy in response to a lengthy dispute with the local council government over the construction of a driveway to his property. After 20 years of seeking planning permission, he lost his appeal in 2013.[19]

Furthermore, the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands was a micronation established as a symbolic political protest by a group of gay rights activists based in Australia. Declared in 2004 in response to the Australian government's refusal to recognise same-sex marriages, it was founded on Australia's external overseas Territory of the Coral Sea Islands, a group of uninhabited islets east of the Great Barrier Reef.[20] The Kingdom was dissolved on 17 November 2017 following the 'Yes' vote in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey legalising gay marriage.[21]

Since 2010

BBC correspondent Phil Mercer interviewing Dr Judy Lattas at PoliNation 2010.[22]

PoliNation 2010, a conference of micronations, was held on Dangar Island in Sydney, Australia.[23] Micronations with representatives in attendance included the Empire of Atlantium, the Principality of Hutt River, the Principality of Wy and the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands.[24][25] The conference hosted various presentations, workshops and events. Parts of the conference was filmed by filmmaker Paul Poet for his upcoming documentary film, Empire Me: New Worlds Are Happening!. The conference convenors were Dr. Judy Lattas of Macquarie University, Princess Paula of the Principality of Snake Hill, and His Imperial Majesty George II of the Empire of Atlantium.[26][27][28][29]

The Murrawarri Republic is a micronation that declared its independence from Australia in 2013, claiming territory straddling the border of the states of New South Wales and Queensland. The territory is the traditional homeland of the Murrawarri people, an Aboriginal nation, but the population now comprises mostly non-Indigenous Australians.[30][31]

Similarly, the Sovereign Yidindji Government is an Aboriginal Australian micronation that is part of the Australian Aboriginal Sovereignty. Led by Murrumu Walubara Yidindji, members of the Yidindji nation renounced legal ties with Australia in 2014. The land they claim lies in the state of Queensland and stretches "south of Port Douglas, through Cairns, inland across the Atherton Tablelands and 80 kilometres (50 mi) out to sea".[32] The chief minister is Gudju Gudju Gimuybara, while Murrumu is foreign affairs and trade minister.[33] The Yidindji government is hoping to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Commonwealth of Australia. It is also "reaching out to countries like Russia and Venezuela to establish diplomatic relations".[32]

Australian micronations

Intermicronational organisations

Intermicronational organisations in Australia include the Australian Micronational Council,[34] Adelaide Co Prosperity Sphere and United Australian Micronations.[citation needed]

Micronationalists

Notable Australian micronationalists include:

References

  1. Judd, Bridget (5 August 2020). Australia has one of the largest number of micronations in the world. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  2. Earp, Joseph (10 February 2017). Don't like your government? Just start a micronation like these 6 dudes. Mashable. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  3. "Leonard Casley obituary". The Times. 5 March 2019.
  4. Arnall, Karla (21 April 2015). "Wheatbelt Royals: the future of the Principality of Hutt River". ABC. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  5. "Principality of Hutt River to close its borders!". 27 December 2019.
  6. Hedley, Kate (3 August 2020). "End of an empire: Hutt River to rejoin Australia after 50 years". WA Today. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  7. Sunday Mail, Craig Cook (30 June 2018). "Bumbunga Governor Alec Brackstone's relentless will to secede". Sunday Mail. [...] after more than 40 years as the Governor of Bumbunga, Alec Brackstone, is still stirring up trouble for the government. The 93-year-old, former paratrooper, circus trainer, croc shooter and uranium prospector, in no mood to abdicate his title, has been keeping a low profile for the past 20 years.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "'Isn't it every little boy's dream, to control everybody?'". The Daily Telegraph. 14 April 2017.
  9. "Trouble in baron's 'peace State'". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 August 1990. p. 22.
  10. "$50,000 Paid to Live in 'Ideal' State, Claim", by Alison McClymont, The Sydney Morning Herald , 1 September 1990, p23
  11. Documents and medals issued (in German)
  12. "His Grace the Most Noble the Duke of Avram". The Parliament of Tasmania. 24 November 2005. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  13. Blackson, Robert (Summer 2005). "The Empire of Atlantium". Cabinet Magazine. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  14. 14.0 14.1 "History of Atlantium". Empire of Atlantium. Archived from the original on 13 August 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2008. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  15. "Province of Aurora". Empire of Atlantium. Archived from the original on 13 August 2012. Retrieved 15 January 2008. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  16. "Defiant Graziers Under Arrest". Sydney Morning Herald. 14 June 1993.
  17. Matt Siegel, The Royal Me. April 2012 issue. The Atlantic. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  18. Lamont, Leonie (7 March 2011) Snake Hill nation fights back against banks. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  19. Roberts, Simone (17 July 2013). Prince of Wy Paul Delprat loses driveway court battle. Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  20. Nick Squires (4 May 2010). "The world's micronations unite to demand recognition". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  21. Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands, Facebook, 17 November 2017, retrieved 2 October 2020
  22. https://www.fardistantshores.com/Micronations/PoliNation-2010-Conference/n-jZcCNq/i-72Dvwfk
  23. https://www.smh.com.au/national/meeting-of-the-mini-me-brigade-20100417-sl5x.html
  24. Nick Squires (2010-05-04). The world's micronations unite to demand recognition . Telegraph UK.
  25. https://mprnews.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/the-polination-2010-micronation-conference/
  26. "PoliNation: A One-Day Conference on Micronationalism". Archived from the original on 2010-10-12. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  27. (PDF) https://web.archive.org/web/20120710185300/http://www.micronationconference.com/NEWS_RELEASE_London_Micronation_Conference_01072012_final.pdf. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-4-10. Retrieved 13 September 2019. Check date values in: |archivedate= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. https://web.archive.org/web/20160426151304/http://www.micronationconference.com/Micronations_Radio_National_Life_Matters_15042010_edit.mp3
  29. https://www.thenational.ae/world/asia/delegates-make-it-regal-at-summit-1.481854
  30. "Murrawarri people take sovereignty campaign to UN". www.sbs.com.au. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-12. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  31. Neubauer, Ian Lloyd (30 May 2013). "Australia's Aborigines Launch a Bold Legal Push for Independence". Time magazine. Archived from the original on 30 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-23. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  32. 32.0 32.1 Howden, Saffron (2 November 2015). "Murrumu Walubara Yidindji renounces citizenship to reclaim Australia". The Age. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  33. Daley, Paul (7 June 2015). "Renouncing Australia: a dozen people to follow Murrumu by taking Yidindji citizenship". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  34. Staff (5 May 2020). Scandal as Australian Micronational Council labels New South Scotland 'Colony'. Quadrangle Gazette. newsouthscotland.weebly.com. Retrieved 7 May 2020.