Backpacking in The Empire of Atlantium: How I Spent A Fortnight In A Country Without Knowing It

“Try to sit with me around my table; but never bring a chair” – Noel Gallagher.

Emperor George II of The Empire of Atlantium

Have you ever backpacked through a country without even knowing it?? As idiotic as that sounds, back in 2009, I managed it!! Today I finally get round to writing about The Empire of Atlantium, which really is the country I forgot I visited!! In fact, scrap that – it’s the country I spent a fortnight in without even knowing it. And it was ten years ago that I spent a fortnight in The Empire of Atlantium, which borders Australia in the city of Sydney. I really was a novice whackpacker in them days.

Arrival in Sydney in 2009, about to backpack to the Empire of Atlantium, without knowing it!!

Arrival in Sydney in 2009, about to backpack to the Empire of Atlantium, without knowing it!!

As a separatist and nationalist, my list of real countries is longer than most other tourists lists. I disagree with the Untied Nations list and even the FIFA list of real countries. I love a good spot of whackpacking off the wheaten craic and here’s a place I spent two weeks in but forgot about it, and never covered it. I’ve now added The Empire of Atlantium to my ever growing list of real countries backpacked. The country has almost 3,000 citizens, most of whom signed up online from over 100 foreign countries and have never been to Atlantium! Here’s the cut of this gib.

In 2009, I managed to backpack to the Empire of Atlantium, without knowing it!!

Why Announce in 2019 that I visited a Country in 2009?
Because I was reminiscing as the ten year anniversary arrives of me moving to Australia, in fact that means I’ll have lived outside of the United Kingdom for 10 years as of 3rd October 2019. I revisited some of my old haunts in Sydney this August…

Backpacking in Sydney 10 years on

Arrival Intill Australia and the Empire of Atlantium

When I landed in Sydney Australia in 2009, I actually visited two countries in my first day there! Firstly Australia, secondly the Empire of Atlantium. While officially, the country stamped me intill Australia on arrival at Kingsford Smith International Airport, the place where I first slept and stayed in, was in the area claimed by the Empire of Atlantium!! No kidding buster!

My passport stamp into Sydney on 23rd October 2009

Arrival in Sydney in 2009, about to backpack to the Empire of Atlantium, without knowing it!!

Arrival in Sydney in 2009, about to backpack to the Empire of Atlantium, without knowing it!!

Arrival in Sydney in 2009, about to backpack to the Empire of Atlantium, without knowing it!!

Arrival in Sydney in 2009, about to backpack to the Empire of Atlantium, without knowing it!!

What is The Empire of Atlantium?

It is a country which claims land owned by Australia and therefore The Empire of Atlantium borders Australia. However it must be stressed that this is a REAL country and NOT a Micronation. The Emperor, George II is keen to promote the notion that it’s not a Micronation. It is fully independent from Australia and largely unrecognised.

Emperor George II of Atlantium

The Empire of Atlantium was founded on the 3 Decimus, 10500 (27 November, 1981) when, in response to a perceived rise in unwelcome political influences, a unilateral Declaration of Independence from the Commonwealth of Australia was peacefully effected by Sydney residents George Francis Cruickshank, Geoffrey John Duggan and Claire Marie Duggan. The three Founders simultaneously symbolically laid claim to land, the Provisional Territory, in Sydney, Australia. Cruickshank was thence acclaimed Emperor, and assumed full executive, legislative and judicial authority as His Imperial Majesty George II.

Empire of Atlantium flag

From the Empire of Atlantium’s official website, here is their mission statement:

The Empire of Atlantium is a unique parallel sovereign state based in New South Wales, Australia.
Atlantium recognises that the days of nation-states founded on fixed geographical locations or majority ethnic identities are numbered, as global mobility, cultural evolution, and the growth of electronic communication networks render the assumptions that underlie and provide justification for their existence increasingly obsolete.

The Empire of Atlantium on Facebook

In an age where people increasingly are unified by common interests and purposes across – rather than within – traditional national boundaries Atlantium offers an alternative to the discriminatory historic practice of assigning nationality to individuals on the basis of accidents of birth or circumstance.

Atlantium flags for sale

Atlantium has a heritage that spans three decades. What began as a local political statement by three Sydney teenagers on 3rd Decimus, 10500 (27th November, 1981) has since evolved into the world’s foremost non-territorial global sovereignty movement and state entity, with a diverse, rapidly growing population living in some ninety countries.

Downtown Atlantium

Atlantium is predicated on a belief in the inevitability and the desirability of eventual global social, economic and political union, and it operates as a secular, pluralistic, liberal, social democratic republican monarchy. The country encourages the active participation of Citizens in the public life of the Empire, and invite anyone with the desire and motivation to forge their own destiny as a true citizen of the world to consider joining them.

Atlantium stamps

Where is The Empire of Atlantium?

The Empire of Atlantium is a country located in Potts Point in Sydney, Australia. The border is defined in the map below though there are numerous territories it claims. Its actual postal address is:

Empire of Atlantium
Ministry of Finance
via PO Box 573
Marrickville NSW 1475
AUSTRALIA  

The Lonely Planet Micronations book claims that The Empire in Atlantium is located in Potts Point, Sydney. I spent two weeks here in 2009, hence why I count it as a visit (albeit 10 years later and with no passports stamps or proof!).

Potts Point The Empire of Atlantium

Lonely Planet entry about the real country The Empire of Atlantium

When was The Empire of Atlantium formed?

27 November, 1981

Does The Empire of Atlantium have its own visas, borders, government, currency, stamps and flag?

Yes, it has most of that. Here is the flag.

Backpacking in The Empire of Atlantium: How I Spent A Fortnight In A Country Without Knowing It

Backpacking in The Empire of Atlantium: How I Spent A Fortnight In A Country Without Knowing It

Here is the currency.

An Empire of Atlantium coin

Empire of Atlantium banknotes

Here are some stamps.

Empire of Atlantium Stamps

Empire of Atlantium passport stamp

Empire of Atlantium stamps on a First Day Cover

Crossing the Border from Australia to The Empire of Atlantium

Back in 2009, when I crossed the border between Australia and The Empire of Atlantium, I didn’t even know I was crossing the border. It’s not easy to spot. Therefore on my visit, I observed a very open border with Australia and Australian dollars can be used in The Empire of Atlantium. There was no security check, no border control, no visa and no clear division. The Empire of Atlantium appears to have a good relationship with Australia.

Backpacking in neighbouring Australia in the city of Sydney which borders the Empire of Atlantium

Backpacking in neighbouring Australia in the city of Sydney which borders the Empire of Atlantium

Backpacking in neighbouring Australia in the city of Sydney which borders the Empire of Atlantium

Sleeping in The Empire of Atlantium

I slept in a brace of hostels here in The Empire of Atlantium at Potts Point. Firstly in Chili Blue Backpackers where I roomed with Natalja my Estonian travel buddy, Colombian Maria who we met in the first dorm room and Daniel Evans from Derby in England. Daniel became my best mate pretty quickly in the land down under. We watched football together, hiked together, lived together, drank together and backpacked to 4 Australian Provinces together. It was also in Chili Blue Backpackers Hostel that I attended my one and only interview for a bar job in Australia.

Chili Blue Backpackers Hostel, The Empire of Atlantium

From that moment on, I would be an employee of PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub.

PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub, Parramatta, Sydney, Australia

working wednesdays pjs

Working Wednesdays: A tribute to my friends and heroes of PJs Parramatta, Australia

jonny blair pjs australia

There’s no limits. The quiet man on my first day working in PJ Gallagher’s Parramatta, Australia!

Jonny Blair dressed as a Guinness pint

The Day I…Was Rugby Tackled While Dressed as a pint of Guinness!! In Parramatta, Australia!

Jonny Blair in PJ Gallagher's Irish Pub Parramatta

At home in the Brew Bar in PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub in Parramatta. This was my “home” for a year or two!

PJ Gallagher's Irish Pub Parramatta, AUSTRALIA

Working in PJ Gallagher’s Irish Pub in Parramatta, AUSTRALIA. Loved it!

I spent about two weeks in Chili Blue Backpackers Hostel in The Empire of Atlantium and attended a Halloween party with them.

Chili Blue backpackers hostel

Chili Blue backpackers hostel

Chili Blue backpackers hostel

Chili Blue backpackers hostel

Chili Blue backpackers hostel

Chili Blue backpackers hostel

The second hostel I stayed in here was The Original Backpackers Hostel. It wasn’t as good as Chili Blue and didn’t have the same social vibe.

Playing Football in The Empire of Atlantium

We also played football in The Empire of Atlantium. It was just on a five a side court near Chili Blue Backpackers Hostel.

Playing football in the Empire of Atlantium

Playing football in the Empire of Atlantium

Playing football in the Empire of Atlantium

On the Rip in The Empire of Atlantium

Potts Point in Sydney, Australia has loads of bars and we visited over 10 of them. The area is also referred to as Kings Cross or Darlinghurst. These are my top 3 bars in The Empire of Atlantium.

1.O Malleys Irish Pub
This place was our local with it’s cheap pitchers of beer. It was also good on Mondays for a pub quiz and we attended a huge Halloween party here in 2009.

O Malleys Irish Pub, Empire of Atlantium

O’Malley’s

In O Malleys Irish Pub I also met Zara Steele who comes from Groomsport in Northern Ireland.

2.The Sports Bar
Daniel and I loved this place as it showed live football and was open 24/7 at the time. AFC Bournemouth were in the fourth division (League Two) at the time so weren’t on but I caught a Northern Ireland v. Serbia friendly here, which was incidentally the first Northern Ireland home match I had missed since 1996.

The Sports Bar in King’s Cross, Empire of Atlantium

The Sports Bar in King’s Cross, Empire of Atlantium

The Sports Bar in King’s Cross, Empire of Atlantium

3.The Sugar Mill
For live music we headed intill the Sugar Mill. Cheap drinks and live acoustic cover versions were the forte back then.

The Sugar Mill, The Empire of Atlantium

The Sugar Mill, The Empire of Atlantium

Souvenirs from The Empire of Atlantium
Sadly I don’t have any souvenirs from The Empire of Atlantium because at the time I had no idea I was even in it!! But you can order them all from this link! However, I have plenty of souvenirs from my time in Sydney and Parramatta.

Visiting Province of Aurora
Ten years later, having left behind my life in the land down under, I finally returned to Sydney and Melbourne on a stop over on route to the Pacific Islands. It is only now that I realise I should have visited the Province of Aurora in the Empire of Atlantium to make my visit more official. I also missed the chance to backpack to the Hutt River Province, a country which borders Australia and is located not far from Perth. Currently I class myself as having visited The Empire of Atlantium, making it country 180 on my quest to visit 200 countries before 30th March 2021.

Fully-guided day-tours of Aurora ex-Sydney are available by prior arrangement with the Office of the Emperor and I’ll be in touch next time I’m heading that way. Requests for commercial overnight or short-stay visits will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Some links for researching the Empire of Atlantium:

The Empire of Atlantium on Wikipedia
The Empire of Atlantium Official Website

The Empire of Atlantium Facebook Page
The Empire of Atlantium Facebook Group

Here are some videos about the Empire of Atlantium:

Here is a video from my time in Sydney in 2009 when I visited The Empire of Atlantium unintentionally:

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