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.
Initially, 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.
The 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.
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 notoriety.