Government of the
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HRH Prince Leonard George Casley
& First Sovereign of the Principality of Hutt River
Who was this man that has brought us all together here today?
We all have had some relationship, some contact with this man and it made an impact on us.
Let me see if I can fill some of the details for you. To complete this rich tapestry that is the man.
Prince Leonard was born to humble parents; George William and Enis Myrtle Casley in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia on 27th August 1925. It was a Thursday. Not that that is significant and he passed away on a Wednesday the 13th February 2019 in St John of God Hospital here in Geraldton.
He had managed his emphysema for over 20 years, although he was vulnerable to chest infections. This chest infection and a weakened heart didnít allow his frail body to pull through this time.
However in between those 93 plus years he lived many lifetimes.
One of his earliest memories was in the outback of South Australia at Quorn where he went to school for a short time. His father George William Casley was working for the Continental Railways and would travel the Nullabor. One anecdote Prince Leonard often recalled was one day going to school he saw a hurt Love Bird Parrot that had been in a fight with another. Prince Leonard picked up one and it bit him and it flew away. He picked up the other and took it to school. His teacher gave him a box, perhaps a shoe box to place it in. Come recess time the other children wanted to see it. So the young innocent boy took the lid off the box and yes it flew away.
Another story was of the large Perenties (large lizards) that raced the trains until they tired of that and outpaced the train as they disappeared into the bush. He learned the ways and customs of the Aboriginal Peoples as he lived with these people in their environment. He befriended them and like all friends would be invited to join in with their familyís activities, including their ceremonies.
Around nine years of age the family moved to Fremantle. It was there at this young age that he had his first taste of commercial venture. He would sell to the passengers on the cruise ships wildflowers that he would pick, until one day, an official asked, ďIf he had a permit for that?Ē He didnít and that was the end of that enterprise.
He left school at 14 and was employed as a shipping clerk at James Kiernan Ltd., Fremantle Harbour. He often relayed the times at work when it wasnít so busy and Leonard would go down to the Government printer and get the law gazette pertaining to his job. The bills of lading and excise charges. He wanted to know why he was doing such. He questioned who was to pay some of these charges. Was it his clients or the shipping firm? After discussing such with his boss he was encouraged to go and discuss it with the shipís captain, which he did. After 40 or so minutes of discussion the captain agreed but said he wouldnít be changing. Back at the office Len felt that his boss had phoned the captain and the two allowed him to have his say. There he was at 16 years of age, full of confidence and a deep understanding faced people much older than he full with his convictions.
Then at 18 years he entered the Royal Australian Air Force, where he served in Australia and islands in and around Borneo. He remembers fondly the inspirational speech by Lord Mountbatten in Darwin before they left for the islands. His unit was the first group in as the Japanese retreated. They fixed the bombed air fields and opened up communication lines. Always the entrepreneur he would sell his cigarette rations for a few bob and do others washing for a fee. One story I heard just recently was Len and some of his comrades went exploring out into the jungle. The Japanese had retreated but they were not far away. They found hidden in the jungle a large group of brand new Japanese motorcycles. The entrepreneur Len immediately thought of how to get them to Fremantle and sell them hoping to make a few pounds. Even with his shipping contacts he couldnít work out how to do it, so the motorcycles were left in the jungle. After the war he returned to civilian life and started a fruit and vegetable export business to Singapore.
Len would drive out to the markets in the Swan Valley loading up his truck with their produce. The Italian grape growers would always make sure he stayed and had a social drink. Of course it was mostly their home made Grappa, which was very alcoholic. Those days were long days and Len tried to outsmart them by bringing some beer to share, this being less alcoholic. In these days there were boards for all the fruit and vegetables. There was the apple board, pear board, grape board etc. For some reason they put large restrictions on the amount allotted to Len. This didnít stop or even slow Len down. He contacted people in Adelaide and he would pay those growers £1.00 per case more than the West Australian growers were getting and Len still made a profit getting them to Singapore. One day as he called in on the grape growers they were upset as the Grape Board had told them not to sell any produce to Len. They felt this was rediculious and asked Len to start our own board and would he be the head of it. Len thanked them but explained that he was very busy but would help them. He drafted a letter and got his lawyer to send it to the Grape Board. Next visit they explained all was sorted and that they could sell him as much as he could take. You can see were this is going. Len had a deep understanding of government boards and their restrictive ways. This was very successful.
During his time in the Air Force he met Shirley Joy at a dance in Fremantle. After the war ended they married and went on to be life partners and over the next eleven years had seven children.
Len left the export business and went on to bigger things. He bought a wheat and sheep farm at Westonia which he ran successfully and built up to 28,500 acres over many years. There the family grew in number and size. Eventually after 12 or so years he found that he couldnít fight the marginal rainfall and he sold up and moved to Perth. It was here that he built a block of sixty flats and a two storey home for the now seven children. They were self-contained flats, what we call apartments today. The £10.00 British immigrants were coming and needed short term place to stay until housing and work were sorted. This allowed Len to be semi- retired where he could concentrate on his other love: Mathematics/Physics. He would pull all-nighters following his thoughts and writing his understandings. Dear Mum would proof read and type all the hand written notes and calculations. Some years later with two of his sons leaving school and wanting to go farming he travelled the state and found the farms at Hutt River.
In 1969 with the introduction of Wheat Quotas by the wheat board which was the start of his battle with the Government to save the farm. The only solution he could find was to secede his farming lands, to be a fully independent nation.
This he did. One man against the West Australian, Australian and British Governments, quite an achievement as they had their Army, Navy and Air Force Departments, Lords, Lawyers and Barristers to try to combat this from happening. But he saved the farm and ruled the PHR for over 47years. This he did using only his intellect and a pen, actually many many pens. Again Shirley Joy would type all this correspondence for him.
I was fortunate to be with him for these past five years. Mumís favourite flower is the Everlasting which we would always grow around the buildings. This season Len cut and dried about fifty bunches for sale to the tourists. Here is one of those he cut, dried and tied together. Len has now travelled the full circle from that young boy selling wildflower posies to the cruise ship passengers without a permit to giving himself permission to doing the same now.
He is survived by his (Brother Mervin) seven children, and letís see if I can get this right 22 Grand Children and 37 Great Grand Children and two pregnancies so 39 by the end of this year.
His love Shirley Joy waited patiently for him until he had done what he needed then she reached out her hand to him to guide him home. They are together again forever more. He would be with her for Valentineís Day.
This Eulogy was
written & delivered by:
Final Farewell to:
HRH Prince Leonard
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