In 1969 the Western Australian Government imposed quotas on the production of wheat. Farmers across the state had tough limits imposed on what they could produce, but some suffered more than others under the policy.
Leonard Casley, a farmer near Northampton, was restricted to 1647 bushels for the year. This miniscule production would be insufficient to pay even the interest, let alone provide income for his family. Not happy with the situation, he appealed to the government but that fell on deaf ears.
Leonard, his wife Shirley and their seven children enacted upon an antiquated law left over from the feudal system of England. The law of "Unjust Enrichment" enabled them to lay claim to government land surrounding his farm which would in turn increase his quota to a level high enough to make a decent living.
He succeeded in taking the land from the government, who in return rushed through a bill to allow them to resume any rural lands. Common Law was again called up, this time allowing the Casley family to form a "self-preservation government" and claim independence from the state of Western Australia and the nation of Australia, and their 7487 hectare property officially became Hutt River Province. It is the same size as Hong Kong and runs 8000 head of sheep and grows 5000 acres of crops.
The peoples of the Hutt River Province offered Sovereignty to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who accepted. The Hutt River Province was never formally acknowledged by the Australian government, and still isn't today.
A change of government soon after the independence of the HRP saw a threat to their newly formed nation. In response to threats by the new Australian Prime Minister to close their operation, the administration of HRP decided to change to a state ruled by a prince and bestowed title on Leonard, along with the protection of the crown that comes with it. The effect of the change was that any challenge to undermine operations of Prince Leonard and Princess Shirley would be treated as treason against the Commonwealth, and HRP was safe from Australian invaders.
Prince Leonard has ruled his nation peacefully for 34 years, even overtaking Australia on civil issues such as the drafting of a Bill of Rights for his people. He also revived the romantic notion of Chivalry in the HRP, and has bestowed honours of knightship on those who have served well.
Considered by some to be a tax-dodger, eccentric, insane or even a traitor, Prince Leonard continues his tongue-in-cheek protest to the extent of issuing his own currency, stamps, souvenirs and citizenship.
HRP has survived with tourist activity, as well as their farming. They make their income from the sale of wildflowers, agricultural products and philatelic and numismatic items. The principality also makes money as a purveyor of honours and titles.
Visitors around 25,000 each year do need a passport to enter the principality and visas cost two dollars, though this law is not strongly enforced. Camp sites are available for visitors and you need to take your own supplies.
Prince Leonard travels extensively, from outback Western Australia to visiting the Pope in Rome.
He envisages that one day the HRP will be a city of tens of thousands. He wants to see banks, shops and more houses built. Even a university is in the long range plan the Prince has one with a medical research centre investigating alternative health therapies and bush medicine.
Prince Leonard says that overall, the Australian Government has been reasonably accepting of the Hutt River Province, with "just a bit of conflict".