Princess Meets The Prince

Trip Start Aug 06, 2011
Trip End Oct 06, 2013

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Principality Of Hutt River

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Thursday, November 1, 2012

So how do you visit another country without ever leaving the continent of Australia? You turn right after the pink lake at Port Gregory and follow the sign posts to the Principality of Hutt River- that's how. Micro nations like the Principality of Hutt River dot the planet but most are either intended to be a joke (the nation of Lovely is an apartment in East London), or are thought of as a joke  (the Principality of Vikesland in Manitoba, Canada), but Hutt River is a very serious proposition indeed. Unhappy with wheat quota's issued by the Australian government, Leonard Casley sued, which prompted the government of the day to pass a bill to reacquire the Casley's land, which the Casley's saw as illegal and he felt it allowed his family to secede and declare their independence from the Commonwealth of Australia (under International Law). After prime minister threatened him with prosecution, Casley styled himself His Majesty Prince Leonard I of Hutt to take advantage of the British Treason Act 1495 which stated that a self proclaimed monarch could not be guilty of any offence against the rightful ruler, and anyone who interfered with his duties could be charged with treason.

As a result, in 1970, the Principality of Hutt River was declared an independent province by Leonard Casley (Prince Leonard). Under Australian law, the federal government had two years to respond but chose not to do so. I thought this was a positive sign of the Aussie tolerance and encouragement of all things eccentric but apparently that's not the case- the Gov't of Oz is pissed and makes life as difficult as possible for Hutt River. From the beginning Australia Post refused to recognize Hutt River postage so all of the Principalities mail had to be directed to Canada (the notion of Canada Post being more accommodating than any other organization just defies belief so I have to think that our posties had no idea what or where Hutt River was so they just went ahead delivering the mail with their usual blinding speed). And the Australian Tax Office certainly didn't see Hutt River as independent so our earnest Prince went back to court and soon thereafter the mail service was restored after the court case deemed that Hutt River stamps and coins were legal within the Principality, and the tax requests also ceased.

As a bit of a closet stamp collector, I'd have to admit that my interest in visiting Principality of Hutt River started when I picked up a couple of postage stamps from this country I'd never heard of before. For DH (aka The Princess), it was a glorious chance to hobnob with fellow royalty. Crossing the border was somewhat uneventful and as we parked the camper-van in front of the government offices, Prince Leonard himself came out to greet us and we were given the royal tour through an eclectic collection of gifts and memorabilia that has been given to the Hutt River Royals over the years. We then had our passports stamped and visa's issued, and after the flag lowering ceremony were given our choice of location in the Principality of Hutt River campervan park. The resident human population of Hutt River is something in the neighbourhood of 30 (although they claim a worldwide citizenry of 15,000) which is dwarfed by the kangaroo population that came to hang out with us in the camp ground. I caught a series of low light, poor quality pic's that I've attached to the blog just to show a joey escape.

The next day we attended the flag raising (not exactly the pomp and circumstance of Tianeman Square but it got the job done). Did I mention that the Government of Australia doesn't see the humour in all this?? Probably the result of the province declaring war in December 1977 over the tax issue even though Prince Leonard notified Australian authorities of the cessation of hostilities several days later. Instead of landmines, I suspect the Aussie Army spread nails and spikes all over the surrounding roadways because we were only a few minutes beyond the Hutt River border and back in Oz when a shredded tire had us wobbling all over the highway. Miles from anywhere, our only choice was to figure out the somewhat complicated spare tire scenario- as a bit of a positive, DH confessed to amorous feelings while watching me grapple with the tires in a very masculine way. This initially struck me as odd since I had changed tires many times before but as I thought about it, this was the first time she had actually gotten out of the car while I was doing it.

The spare tire looked like it was one wayward bump away from going flat itself so we found a campervan park in nearby Kalbarri where we got some good and bad news. The bad news- there was only 1 tire guy in town and he would be closed for the next two days. The good news- we were right across from the beach area where the pelicans were fed each morning.
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Tracy Bilecki on

What a great story!

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