Not many people follow through on their childhood dreams. We all have these fantasies when we’re kids of being astronauts, or firefighters, or professional sportspeople, or rulers of the world, but then… reality sets in. Life gets in the way. Those dreams are forgotten.
But not for George Cruickshank – otherwise known as His Imperial Majesty George II.
When George was a kid, he had a dream. He wanted to rule a kingdom. He wanted to change the world. He wanted a place he could call his own, where he could make the rules, where he could decide the direction, where he could encourage like-minded folk to join him.
And, he did it.
Welcome to the Empire of Atlantium. Welcome to a small territory that represents the culmination of a childhood fantasy. Welcome to a micro-nation that’s more of a set of ideals than a physical place, a state with more than 3000 citizens and yet no official recognition, a country with its own flag, its own currency, its own calendar and its own ruler – and yet barely anyone knows it exists.
George Cruickshank dreamed of having his own empire, and now he does. Atlantium’s physical base is in Reids Flat, a small rural township in central NSW. This is the Province of Aurora, home to the “Golden House”, the Atlantium parliamentary building, and home of His Imperial Majesty George II.
George is the only resident of Aurora – the other citizens of Atlantium are spread throughout the world, like-minded souls who support George’s quest to (somewhat ironically) break down borders and unify the world. They pay a small fee for citizenship. They receive a certificate. Sometimes they come to visit.
There’s little to suggest that this is the capital of an empire as you pull up at the gate here and meander up the steep, rocky drive. But then you arrive at the Golden House and find the pyramid: Australia’s only walk-in pyramid, George assures us. And then you see the plinth with the eagle mounted upon it, the point from which all distances in Aurora – “Such as they are,” George smiles – are measured.
You can rent the Province of Aurora on Airbnb. The whole thing. It goes for a few hundred dollars a night, with off-grid gas and solar power included. You can buy Atlantium merchandise during your stay, the likes of a flag or a coin or a commemorative photo.
You can explore the territory, or you can just sit on the patio at the Golden House and gaze out at the view and appreciate that for George Cruickshank, dreams really do come true.