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January 15, 2015

An introduction to MicroNations

Dr YaYa - President of the soon-to-be-established autonomous state (and arts club) Surrender, explains that MicroNations offer hope even while the slow hollowing-out of Australia’s soul brings us grief.

  • Words: Farrin Foster

Dr YaYa is a busy man – he’s building an Abbott-Proof Fence and there’s mountains of paperwork coming across his dictatorial desk as he runs through the legal motions necessary to secede from Australia.


Surrender is a new arts and club experience from the creators of Barrio that will operate for three weeks on the Riverbank from February 20. CityMag is Surrender’s media partner and Dr YaYa’s preferred propaganda machine, stay with us for regular updates on Surrender or visit the website.

Despite this, he’s confident that the nation state of Surrender will be ready and beckoning by February 20. From that date, it will spill out of the Intercontinental Hotel and down the Riverbank – offering us all a chance to slip away from the reality of our nationhood for a few evenings.

Pursuing a dream of freedom from what ails this country, says Dr YaYa, is a proud tradition to which he wishes to pay respect.

“The MicroNation is essentially a place where we dare to believe our aspirations might be fully realised,” he tells CityMag. “If we create a zone like this – even for a short amount of time – the aspirations of our utopia can live for a while.”

Below is a short guide to some of Australia’s most admirable existing or historic MicroNations, as selected by Dr YaYa.

The Principality of Hutt River
Formed after a dispute with the Government over wheat quotas in 1970, the Principality of Hutt River in Western Australia is a shining light on the Australian MicroNation stage.

Farmer Leonard Casley, now known as His Majesty Prince Leonard I of Hutt, has travelled every legal road known to man in attempts to remain independent from the Australian Government. In the face of postal service cut-offs, legal threats from the ATO and the possibility of being prosecuted by a Prime Minister he has remained steadfast and now enjoys a (somewhat precarious) status as a non-Australian citizen, as do the 23 other people living in Hutt River.

Tourism forms a large part of the Principality’s economy, as does the area’s continued success as a wheat producer.

The Province of Bumbunga
British ex-pat Alex Brackstone was nervous about the Republican swayings of the Australian population after Gough Whitlam’s controversial dismissal in 1975.

Determined to keep some Australian soil aside for the Queen, he annexed his farm – located near Snowtown in South Australia – from the rest of the nation and formed the Province of Bumbunga.

As the Governor of Bumbunga, one of his highest priorities was the creation and nurturing of a strawberry patch planted in the shape of Great Britain. Unfortunately, but not entirely surprisingly, the patch withered in a drought. Things went from bad to worse, and Alex eventually abandoned Bumbunga to return to the bosom of his home country after facing charges related to illegal firearms. 

A MicroNation for the modern world, Atlantium exists for citizens with a common ideology rather than for those with a common geography. Established in NSW in 1981, the empire now claims to have more than 1200 citizens living across 100 countries.

Instead of living alongside each other, citizens of Atlantium choose to be a part of the state because they ascribe to its two main principles –

1. That the only demonstrably viable basis for sound, stable, progressive, maximally beneficient government is the recognition that individual rights and collective social responsibilities are intrinsically co-existent.

2. That eventual global social, economic and political union is both inevitable and desirable.

All members of Atlantium are encouraged to also remain active, law-abiding and productive members of the country in which they reside.

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