It was only a couple of hours drive from Geraldton to our next stop in Kalbarri, so we decided to have a short diversion to Hutt River Province.
The micro-nation of the Principality of Hutt River is officially it’s own country having ceded from Australia 45 years ago. Consisting of approximately 18,500 acres it is around the same size as Hong Kong.
It all started when the government of Western Australia wanted to impose a quota on the amount of grain that could be grown. The amount they were proposing for Hutt River would make their farm unviable. In trying to stop the law that would allow quotas from being imposed and block any challenges to the quotas, letters were written to the prime minister of Australia and the Queen without success. Unable to stop the law being passed in parliament, Hutt River became it’s own republic so that the law couldn’t apply to them.
The Australian government was not happy with this development and was intent on pursuing the residents of Hutt River for tax evasion and any other way they could get at them. As a result the residents of Hutt River met and agreed that they would upgrade to a Principality.
A letter declaring war against Australia was issued. With no response, three days later they issued another letter, declaring war over and as an undefeated nation they were entitled to be treated under the conditions of the Geneva Convention.
Everything has been done within the by the book and Hutt River Province has a range of laws and official documents as required under international law. One of the most prized documents is a letter from the Australian Tax Office declaring Prince Leonard and his wife Princess Shirley non-residents for the purpose of taxation.
We met the HRH Prince Leonard when we visited and were treated to a personal escort through some amazing memorabilia that he has collected over the years. Including gifts from foreign leaders and photos of representatives of Hutt River Province at events with British Royals.
Not to do things by half, on the grounds there is a church containing the thrones and government buildings containing their own post office, which sells their own stamps and currency.
A sculptor has carved a statue of Prince Leonard that is proudly displayed at the entrance to the property.
We were personally issued a royal invitation by HRH Prince Leonard to return for the 45th Anniversary Celebrations of the succession later this year, but alas we won’t be in the area.