The Imperial Administration and Residence Building is about to be renovated. It still won't have electricity by the time it's finished, but the "Golden House" will have a second bathroom with a compost toilet. And it will have views over the empire.
"This is the only entire nation that's available for rent on Airbnb," says George II, the sovereign head of state, standing outside his house, surveying his territory. "Well," he quickly qualifies, "it's the only one on there for $200 a night."
Welcome to Atlantium. Welcome to a country within a country, a "global sovereign state" that has its headquarters just near Taylors Flat in central NSW, about an hour outside Cowra. Welcome to a micro-nation that was founded on 3rd Decimus in the year 10,500 by three Sydney teenagers, and continues to this day to press its desires for a singular, secular, pluralist world.
Confused? You should be. Atlantium is the only micro-nation in Australia, though it has never been officially recognised by another country. It has some 3000 citizens, though the only resident of the Province of Aurora, Atlantium's home territory, is George II, the emperor – otherwise known as George Cruikshank, though preferably known as His Imperial Majesty George II.
George is the founder and monarch, elected to his lifetime position by popular vote. He lives part-time in the Imperial Administration and Residence Building in Aurora, and spends the rest of his time in an apartment in Marrickville, which provides easier access to his job in sales for an electronics company.
Still confused? Let's break this down further. When George Cruickshank was a boy, he dreamed of ruling his own kingdom, of sectioning off a patch of land to call his own and running his own show. He dreamed of changing the world, of breaking down governmental barriers and joining the Earth together as one.
So as soon as he had the chance, he got to work. He invented Atlantium, a global sovereign state. He established a headquarters in Potts Point, before eventually moving out to the Province of Aurora, otherwise known as Taylors Flat. He began amassing followers around the world. He minted his own currency. He designed his own flag. He created his own stamps. He invented his own calendar.
He shares a border with Australia, which he's happy to do. He lives and works in Australia. He pays taxes in Australia. But his home is in Atlantium, in a fantasy world made real in the bricks and mortar of the Golden House, in the dirt and grass and trees of the Province of Aurora. A dream come true.
And you can share in that dream. George's house is on Airbnb, as mentioned. It's listed as "The Smallest Country in Australia". It has a ceremonial pyramid onsite – Australia's only walk-in pyramid. It will soon have a second bathroom with a compost toilet. And it has views over the rolling hills that surround the Lachlan Valley, a stunningly beautiful slice of the country, part of which George calls his own.
You may meet His Imperial Majesty, or you may not; there's a coded lockbox on the main gate, and another at the house. George doesn't have to be there. You may choose to buy a souvenir from your time in Atlantium – a stamp, a coin, a flag – or you may not.
But in a world where visiting another country is currently prohibited, you will always remember your journey to the Empire of Atlantium.
The writer visited Atlantium as part of a paid partnership with the Alternative Dairy Co.
The "Smallest country in Australia", near Taylors Flat in central NSW, is available to rent from $195 per night. See Airbnb.com.