Australian ‘monarch’ contemplates retirement

Canberra, Sep 6 (IANS) The oldest micro-nation in Australia may soon enter a new era, as its 90-year-old monarch has contemplated retirement, a media report said on Sunday.

Based on an agricultural property 500 km north of Perth, the Principality of Hutt River was born out of a farming family’s fight with the state government, ABC reported.

Through a series of legal manoeuvres, Leonard George Casley – who calls himself Prince Leonard – founded the principality in 1970 in response to the Western Australian government’s wheat production quotas, which would have allowed only a fraction of his farm’s crop go to market.

“If we would have accepted that quota, it would have made the farm at that time valueless,” Casley said.

The principality, which the Australian government does not legally recognise, has existed for 45 years.

The unusual enclave, based near Northampton, attracts tourists from around the globe, who make the pilgrimage to have their passports stamped and purchase the local currency, the Hutt River dollar.

The Principality of Hutt River has its own flag and official seal.

The principality of Hutt River has a crown committee made up of Prince Leonard’s three daughters, who could be called upon to determine their father’s successor.

One of his sons, Prince Graeme, said any succession may still be years away.

“Whilst he celebrated his 90th birthday on the 27th of August, he is full of energy, full of projects and he just keeps going on and on,” he said.

Prince Leonard has privately published a number of research papers and books and intends to further develop an educational shrine that he dedicates to his wife, Princess Shirley, who died in 2013.

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