O u r    A u s s i e

In Australia, we like self-made men, men who see an opportunity and seize it. Take Zalman Silber, for example. Already a successful agent with world-famous New York Life Insurance Company, he really made his fortune with a brilliant stroke of inspiration: People from all over converge on the Empire State Building to go up to the observation deck and view New York City from a bird's-eye point of view; why not locate a virtual helicopter fly-over in the very place, too? And so it is that Zalman Silber has replicated his American success in Sydney with Oztrek and, even more thrillingly, Skywalk.

Yes, Australia was founded by self-made men, though admittedly men who were given a chance at a makeover by contemptuous authorities - this was a penal colony, after all. But as such men of success like to note, it's not how you start out but where you wind up that counts. Here at OurAussie.com, we like to take note of contemporary examples and give due credit where warranted. Though sparsely populated in relative terms, Australia has not been without its bounty of excellent men (and women, too). Take the Prince of Hutt River Province, for example.

Back in 1969 the government of Australia was concerned about a huge wheat surplus and decided to impose quotas on wheat growers. A certain Mr. Leonard Casley had appealed for permission to sell more than a small percentage of the one thousand five hundred acres wheat he planted or he would lose quite a lot of money. Of course, his appeals went nowhere, and after repeated rejctions he started digging around a little in the law books and came up with an ancient English law that provides for seceding your property from a state that threatens your livelihood. With no legal experience or training Mr. Casley simply turned his farm into an independent country and crowned himself His Royal Highness Prince Leonard!

Now that's Australian pluck for you. As residents of an independent country, none of the 30 or so people who live in Hutt River Province pay taxes to the government of Australia, though neither would they be entitled to any benefits at all. As can be imagined, however, this wasn't the end of the matters, and further disagreements between Hutt River Province and Canberra resulted in a 1997 Hutt River Province declaration of war on Australia!

But it's no joke. Hutt River Province - excuse us; the Principality of Hutt River - even issues its own visa, and tourists can have their passports officially stamped. Such are our Aussies, possessed by a boundless spirit that knows no rules save the higher calling within: Cheers to one and all!

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