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This Day in History

Australian History

Tuesday, April 21, 1970. :   The Hutt River province in Western Australia secedes from the Commonwealth of Australia.

     The Hutt River Province Principality is a large farming property about 595 km north of Perth, Western Australia, and is about 75 square km in size. It was founded on 21 April 1970 by farmer Leonard George Casley when he and his family and associates proclaimed their secession from Western Australia.

The year 1969 saw the climax of a long-running dispute between Casley and the Western Australian government over what Casley believed to be unreasonable wheat quotas which would spell ruin for his farm, family and business. Casley resorted to an apparent provision in British common law which he felt allowed him to secede and declare independence from the Commonwealth of Australia. Casley was elected administrator of the new "sovereign state" by his family and later became the self-styled His Royal Highness Prince Leonard of Hutt. Exports of the principality include wildflowers, agricultural produce, stamps and coins, while tourism is also important to its economy. Although actual residents are very few, it claims to have a world-wide citizenship of 13,000. Neither Australia nor any other nation has acknowledged recognition of the Province publicly.

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