An Australian Micronation (Since 1970)

Not long ago I came across an internet reference to the Principality of Hutt River. I have never heard any Australian speak about this "micronation," or come across it on the news. But, at 75 square kilometers (over 18,500 acres), and about 500 km from Perth in Western Australia, I was surprised that I didn't even know it existed. The story, as I can gather from various websites, including this Wikipedia entry, is that it was originally founded by Leonard George Casley in 1970 as a result of a dispute he had with the Australian government over quotas on wheat. In his interpretation of Australian and British law, Prince Leonard (as he is now known) argued that he could legally secede from Australia, although the government of Australia has never recognized the secession. Interestingly, an exhibit at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra does seem to acknowledge Prince Leonard's act as legitimate. The principality itself has few inhabitants, but issues its own stamps and coins (which are collected worldwide), has commissioned naval officers, issues car registrations and passports (over 13,000 to date), and receives off-shore company registrations. Looking around the site, I was amazed to see that Princess Cruises recently offered an excursion to the principality so that passengers could have "tea with the prince." In this picture you can see Prince Leonard standing at the left while the Princess passengers enjoy their tea:
How did so many people know about this? And, what was the attraction in visiting such an out-of-the-way place? I do think it's pretty cool that Australians have tolerated this whole enterprise. I suppose that any such move in the United States would quickly end up with some sort of stand-off with the FBI and ATF. If you happen to have visited the Principality of Hutt River, please leave me a comment. I think it would make an interesting holiday destination (check out the pictures at this fellow's website):