Andrew Heaton on the Australian Wheat Farmer Who Led a Successful Secession
Off the beaten path from Australia's wildlife preserves and pristine beaches is a little-known country that has quietly prospered for 43 years. The Principality of Hutt River sits on 75 square kilometers of land five hours north of Perth in Western Australia. The country's stamps, passports, and currency all bear the likeness of its ruler, Prince Leonard. Hutt River's secession and heraldry are neither a political statement nor a publicity stunt, writes Andrew Heaton. They resulted from one man's determination to save his wheat farm from ruinous government mandates. In 1970, after fighting a losing battle to repeal a stifling wheat quota, Leonard Casley and several of his neighbors declared independence from Australia. "We seceded to protect our lands," says Casley, "to stop our lands from being taken from us."