In 1970 Leonard George
Casley was a Western
Australian wheat farmer. In Australia, wheat farmers sold their crop to the
Australian Wheat Board under a quota system. When Leonard Casley’s family
was offered an inadequate quota in November 1969, they challenged the
legality of the quota system. Mr. Casley then took exception to the way in
which he was being handled by the Wheat Board and by the Australian
Government. In protest at his situation he investigated the laws of
Australia and the state of Western Australia and decided that under a
certain law he could form a ‘self-preservation government’. So, on 21
April 1970 the Casely’s seceded from Commonwealth of Australia because of
crushing changes to the government wheat quotas and declared their property
as ‘Hutt River Province’, 600km north of Perth,
seceded from Australia.
Leonard Casely declared himself the ‘Administrator’ of the Province.
While the Australian Government refused to have anything to do with the
secession, several pieces of correspondence by certain sections of the
Government were addressed to the ‘Administrator’ of Hutt River Province.
This was seen by the secessionists as a form of recognition. However,
shortly after secession a new Prime Minister was elected to lead Australia.
He immediately announced that the secession was invalid. Delving into more
obscure laws, Leonard Casely and his family decided that the secession could
be more properly defended if the head of the seceding state was a Prince.
So, Leonard Casley, the Administrator took the title as 'Prince', his wife
became Princess Shirleya and their seven kids, together they turned their
principality into a tourist destination.
Hutt River Province covers an area of approximately 75 square kilometres.
The primary income of the principality is from the sale of wildflowers,
agricultural products, and philatelic and numismatic items. The Principality
also makes money as a tourist destination and as a purveyor of honours and
Australian Government continues to aver that the province holds no official
status and is not recognized by the Australian or any other government.
Passports, titles, and postage stamps issued by the Principality are not
recognized by Australia and all such objects are regarded as fantasy items.
According to official statements, the ‘Hutt River Province’ is just a
privately owned wheat farm. It would be interesting to know if Prince
Leonard has paid any tax to the Australian Government in all his years of
independence, and if he has not, why the Government does not take action. It
is probable that it is considered better to let sleeping dogs lie, rather
than pursuing the issue, which would just give the Prince an opportunity to
promote his cause.
After becoming frustrated with the Western Australia government's inaction
Casley found an obscure clause permitted under British common law to legally
secede. The Australian government largely ignored Leonard, who proclaimed
himself Prince. Since its founding Leonard claims to have granted
citizenship to some 13,000 people from all over the world. Hutt River
Province has been an active tourist destination as a result of Leonard's