Grand Duchy of Avram
|Grand Duchy of Avram
|-||Grand Duke||Prince John|
|Currency||Ducal and Avram|
The public manifestation of the Duchy was The Royal Bank of Avram which at one time operated from retail premises owned by The Grand Duke of Avram in George Town, Tasmania, and which still issues its own banknotes and coinage and platinum 1 ounce coins. 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 obtain the currency. The Bank still operates today.
The unlicensed nature of the Avram Bank 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 The Grand Duke of Avram had not engaged in any illegal activity, and ordered the return of all the confiscated property, however some disappeared in Federal Custody and later appeared on the market. 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 2008) 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 was elected 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 both under his legal name as agreed by Justice Slicer in one of his decisions. 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?]
Rudge 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, and to travel on an Australian passport that lists his various titles including an Australian "Official" passport.
The Duchy of Avram has never claimed territory in the manner of other Australian micronations such as the Hutt River Province.
- "If at first you don't secede..." by Mark Dapin, The Sydney Morning Herald - Good Weekend, 12 February 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 (9 February 2007). "Seceders set up Sandy Bay rule". The Mercury. Retrieved 2007-05-13.[dead link]