Monthly Micronation Monday! Today, we visit Hutt River in Australia.
At 18,500 acres, the size is nothing to sneeze it. At least, it's certainly more impressive than a small sea fort in the middle of the ocean (cough cough Sealand). The story behind this micronation of farmland? Prince Leonard Casley, 87 years old currently, seceded from Australia on April 21, 1970 due to new grain quotas. He claimed the quotas would deal quite a blow to his finances.
For this, Casley is seen as a sort of founding father to micro-secessionist movements. Many others followed in his footsteps. And there isn't much his micronation lacks... aside from recognition from a sovereign nation, of course. But Hutt River has a capital city, Nain, in which resides Leonard and his family, a consitution, a post office (complete with a Prince Leonard statue in front) and postal service, and its own currency. It also has its own passports.
Princess Shirley, Leonard's wife, passed away recently. A eulogy is available on the micronation's official website. Also on the website is an event calendar, which includes the celebration of Prince Leonard's 88th birthday to come later this August.
The Australian government has largely ignored all those who claimed to secede and become citizens of Hutt River. However, government social security, including war veteran benefits, were withdrawn from the seceders. Also, the National Museum of Australia has a section on "Separation" which mentions Hutt River.
Sources: Business Week.com, Wikipedia, Hutt-River-Province.com