An ‘empire’ crumbles: Oz separatists finally done in by tax


An ‘empire’ crumbles: Oz separatists finally done in by tax

Drop in visitor numbers also led to Hutt River, the world’s smallest ‘free’ state, dissolving after 50 years

Giovanni Torre

After 50 years of defiance, one of the world’s smallest self-declared states, the Principality of Hutt River, is to rejoin Australia.

Leonard Casley, a wheat farmer and mathematician, declared the province independent in 1970 after a clash with Australia’s federal government over wheat production quotas. But the plucky micronation is no more now that its government has decided to dissolve it after a large tax bill, a drop in tourist numbers, and the death of its founder in 2019.

Casley, better known as Prince Leonard I, and the principality, situated 563km north of Perth, gained a degree of international fame as the 50km2 state issued passports, stamps, citizenships and a new currency, the Hutt River dollar. Prince Leonard also commissioned a sculpture in his own likeness in the area...

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