Somewhat of a novelty for travellers through the state's Mid West,
the Principality of Hutt River was once (and in reality, still is) just
a farm, but what makes this farm different from other farms is that it
became an independent principality which seceded from the Commonwealth
of Australia and the State of Western Australia in April 1970. It is is
about 75 square km in size.
Explorer George Grey reported the existence of the Hutt River in
1839. Both the Hutt River and Hutt Lagoon were named by Grey after
William Hutt, the brother of the Governor of Western Australia.
Prior to secession, the principality was a Western Australian wheat
farm run by the Casley family. A dispute over wheat quotas and threats
by the WA Government to resume their land led the Casleys to form a
self-preservation Government as permitted under an ancient British law
which permits secession if your livelihood is threatened by the state.
The Australian Government on its official website has stated that it
does not recognise the secession of Hutt River Province, but its
position on the Principlity seems somewhat of a two-way bet. It claims
that Hutt River is only a private enterprise operating under a business
name, however none of the 30 or so people who live in the Principlity
receive any benefits from the Australian Government and none pay taxes
to it. Furthermore, no attempt has ever been made to make them pay
Tourist maps of the area, produced by the state government, note it
as a tourist attraction. Passports issued by Hutt River Principlity are
accepted by France, Greece, India and Lebanon, but the Northampton
Shire Council and the Australian Commonwealth and WA State Governments
and are still trying to come to terms with the fact that Prince Leonard
Casley may well have beaten them at their own game.