Meet the Man who Built His Own Country (and Proclaimed Himself King)

Introducing Atlantium, the smallest nation you’ve never heard of. | By NGT Staff  
Atlantium Australia
Atlantium began as a project in George Cruickshank's backyard in Sydney, Australia, before spreading to over 200 acres in rural New South Wales. Cruickshank (pictured here) is now its reigning monarch. Photo: National Geographic/YouTube

Unhappy with the way your country is being run? Most of us stage protests to have our voices heard, others move to a different place, and a few might consider joining the government to bring about change. Teenage George Cruickshank decided to start his own country in his mother’s backyard in Sydney, Australia. He recruited two of his cousins as its first citizens, proclaimed himself king, and christened his patch of land “Atlantium”. That was in 1981.

Today, the micro nation of Atlantium covers approximately 200 acres of pastoral land overlooking the Lachlan River Valley in Australia. It is not recognised by the United Nations (or any other international government agency) but that hasn’t stopped 3,000 people from 100 countries around the world from signing up as citizens. Most have enrolled online and are yet to visit.

Despite Atlantium’s small resident population, George takes the responsibilities of running his country very seriously. Atlantium has its own flag, constitution, laws, and money (available at the post office). He even changed his name to one that befits a monarch. “My official title is Imperial Majesty George the second, emperor and first among equals,” he has been quoted saying, “But I don’t usually impose that on people. George is fine, ‘Hey you’ is not.”

Atlantium Airbnb

Of course Atlantium has its own postcards (and coins and stamps and banknotes too). Photo: Airbnb

Atlantium Australia

Atlantium’s pyramid-like monument affords panoramic views of its undulating hills and thick forests. Photo: Airbnb

Curious travellers can visit Atlantium and even stay there—it’s listed on Airbnb. For ₹3,368 per night, visitors can shack up in a one-room cabin surrounded by natural bushland. Atlantium runs off Australia’s water, power, and gas grid, using solar heating, liquid petroleum gas, and wood for its needs. So while there’s hot water in the shower, don’t expect air-conditioning or Internet access. Plus, the nearest pub and shop are 20km away, and the nearest hospital is 50km off.

George himself shows visitors around. Spend the trip hiking, bird-watching, mountain biking, visiting national monuments a like 13-foot pyramid, and spotting wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies, wedge-tailed eagles, and echidnas. Look out for Constitution Hill and Flagstaff Hill, among the country’s highest points.

Atlantium can be heaven or hell, depending on your political opinions. “We support assisted suicide, marriage equality, abortion rights, and unrestricted international freedom of movement,” George says in the video below, “The world that Atlantium wants to see, is one where people can realise the fullness of their personal potential.”

Psst. Want a weekly dose of travel inspiration in your inbox?