Principality of Hutt River

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 taxes either.

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.

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Where is it?

595 km north of Perth.

The National Museum of Australia contains an exhibition on the theme of 'Separation' within Australia which includes a Hutt River Principlity display which states that Casley had "successfully seceded from Australia". According to Judy Lattas, a sociologist at Macquarie University; "many officials in Western Australia, some quite high up, and even nationally in Australia are happy to play out the myth of Hutt River’s sovereignty [by] attending [Hutt River] functions, returning correspondence [and] abandoning the claim for tax."

In 2005, the Heritage Council of Western Australia listed the Hutt River Principlity as having "high historic and social significance as the site of Australia's only independent principality."

Leonard Casley is considered to be the founding father of the micro-secession movement with dozens of micronations around the world established after being inspired by his success. Australia is home to almost half of the world's micronations. The matriarch of the principality, "Princess" Shirley Casley, died on July 7, 2013.

Location: Ogilvie Road West, Yallabatharra WA 6535

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