Grand Duchy of Avram
Grand Duchy of Avram Micronation
Coat of Arms
Status Current Area claimed Non-territorial Membership < 5 Date of foundation 1980s Leadership Prince John, Grand Duke of Avram Organisational structure Absolute monarchy Language English Purported currency Ducal
The Grand Duchy of Avram is a micronation founded in the early 1980s by Tasmanian John Charlton Rudge (who sources also alternately name John Avram and John Charlton, His Grace, the Most Noble the Duke of Avram), an anti-taxation campaigner and Hermetic Qabalah adherent. He is generally known as the "Grand Duke of Avram".
The earliest public manifestation of the Duchy was a bank which initially operated from retail premises owned by Rudge in George Town, Tasmania, and which issued its own banknotes and coinage. This enterprise was later relocated to Strahan, on Tasmania's west coast. Customers were required to exchange Australian currency for the Avram equivalents in order to transact business in Rudge's store. In an attempt to circumvent Australian banking statutes, Rudge did not trade as a bank, but instead referred to the operation as a b_nk.
The unlicensed nature of the Avram "b_nk" roused the ire of the Australian government, who promptly confiscated Avram's entire currency reserves and initiated proceedings against him in the Australian Federal Court system. Eventually, after a total of six court cases, costing the federal government some A$22 million, the courts ruled that Rudge had not engaged in any illegal activity, and he was permitted to resume his banking practices unhindered. He has issued several sets of coins and banknotes in the name of the Royal Bank of Avram since the 1980s (the most recent of which are dated 2005) and has asserted to a number of media representatives that the bank operates from a number of unspecified sites inside and outside of Tasmania.
Rudge's success in what was perceived by many[who?] as a David and Goliath battle ensured him a degree of notoriety, and this later assisted his election as a conservative member of the Tasmanian state parliament, where he served a single term and held the position of Shadow Minister for Construction. He later served as a councilor and Deputy Mayor of the municipal council of Sorell. His term of office on the council was at times controversial. On one occasion, accusations of corruption made by him against a council employee[who?] resulted in legal action being initiated against him by the offended party.[who?]
The 'Duke' claims dozens of "noble" and "religious" titles (among them "Earl of Enoch" and "Cardinal Archbishop of The Royal See"), which he asserts are of ancient origin. He also claims to be the grand master of a handful of ancient orders of chivalry (all of which are unknown to independent scholars), and to travel on an Australian passport that lists his various titles. However, none of these claims are verifiable, and most of the Duke's titles appear to be of relatively modern hermetic kabbalistic origins. The Duke has also frequently promoted his biographical entry in a publication entitled Who's Who of the World - where he is listed between Sir Elton John and Pope John Paul II, and has an entry longer than both - as evidence of the legitimacy of his titles - however the entry is in fact a paid insertion.
The Duchy of Avram has never claimed territory in the manner of other Australian micronations such as the Hutt River Province, and the Duke is on record as saying that the Duchy is a "state of mind".
- ^ "Avram's Tasmanian parliament profile". The Parliament of Tasmania. November 24, 2005. http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/History/tasparl/avram676.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
- "If at first you don't secede..." by Mark Dapin, The Sydney Morning Herald - Good Weekend, February 12, 2005, pp 47–50
- "Unusual World Coins", by Colin R Bruce, Krause Publications, 2005, ISBN 0-87349-793-7, p21
- Diplomatically Challenged Coins
- Tasmanian Supreme Court case transcript that describes a 1999 defamation case brought by the manager of Sorell Council against "John Avram", a member of that council.
- Tasmanian Parliamentary website entry listing the Duke's name as "John Charlton His Grace the Most Noble the Duke of Avram".
- Heather Low Choy (February 9, 2007). "Seceders set up Sandy Bay rule". The Mercury. http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,21195838-921,00.html. Retrieved 2007-05-13. [dead link]
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