14 January 2013

Hutt River Trip

Its a little known "fact" that Australia isn't an island nation. There is a 75 sq km around 6 hours drive north of Perth that seceded from the rest of Australia 40 years ago due to an argument over wheat allowances. While the Australian government doesn't legally acknowledge the Hutt River Principality, it doesn't do much about it either!
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.{source}
We have driven past the Principality, but never had time to make the detour:

But a friend is soon to be leaving Australia, and Hutt River was on his bucket list, so off we went!

Its a great drive up there. Long... but very pretty.
With lots of great places to stop off for a bite to eat and leg-stretch!

We camped at Port Denison for a night. Camping in a busy site with an excitable doggie is an interesting experience, but he handled it very well.
This was the sunset we were treated to. There was a cyclone of the coast, so it was windy and sometimes rainy, but it made for some nice photo opportunities.

Hutt River itself is a long drive down a straight, dusty and boring dirt road.
But someone didn't mind!

On arrival we got our visas and were told some of the history of the principality by Prince Leonard himself. Nixon kept barking at him though :S We warned him that if he didn't behave he would get his visa taken away and he'd have to wait for us outside the gates! We were joined by other friends who had made the trip in one day, and the best bit was that we had the whole camp site to ourselves to enjoy a beer and a catch up in the company of kangaroos and bush peacefulness. And for $5 a night (Plus the $2 entry visa, of course... cab't cross international boarders without a visa!


  1. Wow! I had no idea about this! It looks like a fantastic place to have visited and that sunset is stunning :)

    1. I know. Some of the reasons I love living in Australia- crazy hidden gems and awesome scenery!


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