When planning for my shore tours on my recent cruise, I was surprised and excited to see a visit to Hutt River Province listed under Geraldton. I hadn’t heard anything about this legendary nation for any years so it was good to see that it was still around and going strong. It was big news back in the 70s when it seceded from Australia and Prince Leonard declared independence.
It is now known as the Principality of Hutt River. It has its own flag, national anthem, currency and stamps which are highly sought after by collectors. Although it is not officially recognised by the Australian Government, it is a legally independent nation and is still here after 40 years.
The man behind it all, Prince Leonard, is an amazing man. The man who decided to do something about an unacceptable injustice being perpetuated by the Western Australian Government back in 1970. He had and still has at 85, a very sharp and intelligent mind. It was a privilege to meet him and his wife, Princess Shirley.
On arriving in the Principality, the Prince and Princess are there to meet you and I was immediately struck by how down to earth and approachable they are. They are the ones who stamp the passports and visas, and will chat to anyone.
It is fascinating to hear the story behind the Principality and how the little guy took on the big political boys. Everything has been done in accordance with international law and there has been a sound reason behind every action from the declaration of independence, the establishment of a sovereign in the form of the Prince and even the formal declaration of war in 1977. While these actions may on the surface appear to be eccentric, they were all very important steps in establishing the Principality. I am reading the book “An Australian Monarch” by William Pitt which gives all the background and you can’t help to gain more respect for Prince Leonard ad his battle against a gross injustice. As the author says in his introduction, the world needs more people like Prince Leonard.
I wandered around Nain, the capital of the Principality, bought souvenirs, had morning tea and attended a talk by the Prince. I never thought all those years ago that I would be able to visit so it was a thrill to be there.
The Principality has an official site:
And finally I had to take a photo of this bizarre sculpture, a surreal depiction of C3PO or at least I think it is. 🙂