In the age of the Internet, people are re-examining many facets of reality they once took for granted. Some question whether the September 11, 2001, attacks were an “inside job,” and others insist the world isn’t really a globe. Some flat earthers take the conspiracy theory even further, however, arguing that the continent of Australia doesn’t exist.
“Australia does not exist. All things you call ‘proof’ are actually well fabricated [sic] lies and documents made by the leading governments of the world,” Facebook user Shelley Floryd posted earlier this month. She removed the post, but not before it received 50,000 “likes.”
“Your Australian friends? They’re all actors and computer generated personas, part of the plot to trick the world,” she added, according to Britain’s The Express newspaper. Floryd reportedly said the conspiracy theory post was a joke, but she posted a very similar message one year ago.
“WAKE UP! These real maps clearly show that Australia is NOT real,” Floryd declared in a post last March. “It’s all been a hoax, and we have been tricked. Never in my life have I been so disgusted, I cannot believe I went years believing this elaborate lie.”
“Australia is a hoax, and all the major governments are in on it,” she reiterated. “WAKE UP WORLD.”
WAKE UP! These real maps clearly show that Australia is NOT real. It's all been a hoax, and we have been tricked. Never…
The conspiracy theory dates back at least as far as 2006, when a user named “Masterchef” posted about it on the Flat Earth Society blog. The post has garnered more than 101,000 views, and 630 replies.
“Most of you have probably been brought up believing in the imaginary land called Australia,” Masterchef declared. “I bet many of you even learned about it in school. I am here to tell you the truth.”
Tinfoil alert! “Well, the fact is that Australia doesn’t really exist. Everything you have ever heard about it was made up, and any pictures of it you have seen were faked by the government,” the user said. “I am sure you have even talked to people on the internet who claim to be from Australia. They are really secret government agents who are surfing the internet to enforce these false beliefs.” [Emphasis added]
Even Masterchef admitted that there was no apparent reason for the alleged forgery of an entire continent. “We are not entirely sure why the government made up an imaginary continent, or why it is trying to convince the world that this continent is real, but we can tell you that we know for a fact that Australia doesn’t really exist,” he wrote. “Please join us in our quest to convince the world of the truth.”
Australia is not the first geographical place to be dismissed as a government conspiracy. Starting in 1993, German Usenet users began satirically arguing that Bielefeld, a city in Germany, does not exist, but is an illusion of government forces.
Bielefeld and Australia do exist, however, and the September 11 attacks were not an “inside job.” However, in the 1820s an enterprising Scotsman by the name of Gregor MacGregor invented a false state called Poyais, hoodwinking Scots and later Frenchmen into investing in his imaginary Central American colony.
If Australia were indeed a fabrication like Poyais, governments wouldn’t just pressure citizens to believe it exists — conniving fraudsters would convince them to invest in it, only later to skip town and avoid being convicted for their fraud.
Australia exists, but that shouldn’t stop ordinary people who accept the facts of science from mocking those who doubt the existence of an entire continent.