Mosman Royals

Reporter: Sophie Hull

"A lot of people have suffered from bureaucratic errors and delaus and so on but what is unique about our situation is that we did something about it and a lot of people just give up" says Prince Paul Delprat. If you don't want to pay your council rates for the next ten years - take a tip from Prince Paul Delprat from the principality of Wy.

The story goes that Paul Delprat lived in a house without a driveway in one of the most expensive suburbs in the country. He received permission in principle to build a driveway but then the land was re-zoned as bushland and he has been unable to gain vehicle access to the surrounding streets since. Enough reason for him to decide his local council wasn't keeping up their end of the rate-payers bargain. "They provide two services - they take away your garbage but they also provide roads where you can get in and out. All we get now from our council is the garbage service - we don't have any access - we can't get on to our own land."

The Delprats now pay a fee for rubbish collection - but no longer pay council rates because - and this is where some of the royal carry on makes sense - they have formed their own principality. Each family member now has a royal title and while they still recognise state and federal authorities - their principality operates independently of the surrounding suburb of Mosman.

The Delprats officially seceded in 2004, they were caught in a catch 22 where their Development Application had approval but the Local Environment Plan didn't allow for the necessary construction. By exchanging documents with the Mayor - their withdrawal from Mosman Council was complete.

What Paul wanted to do was build a driveway linking his land with the street. It seems an absurd issue to form your own principality over - but when it comes to council planning decisions it seems absurdity is often at the heart of it. And we've seen plenty over the years. There was Liz and Paul Jackson's dream home - originally approved by council - a boundary dispute meant the family were ordered to demolish a third of their property - with over $100,000 down the drain. And there was the Broady family - a council mix up access to their house was via a road which technically belonged to their next door neighbour - who chose to get very territorial, forcing the Broadys to go over the wire every time they needed to leave.

The list goes on from eyesores granted approval to families waiting years for a simple decision - it's enough to make anyone want as little to do with council as possible. "It's absolutely possible for anyone in the world to say I am making my house my own nation." John Ryan has written a Lonely Planet guide on Micronations - the process practised by thousands world wide - where a dis-affected citizen can take a stand and form their own kingdoms into which council rates, bungles and inadequacies can't intrude.

"A lot of these people will start to decline to pay their taxes or their rates that's going to bring a fair bit of trouble you're going to bring a knock at the door and you've got to be ready to accept what might come your way - but with that in mind if it's what you want to do you should go right ahead" says John.

While Prince Paul Delprat of the Principality of Wy is clearly enjoying the victory over council - it's a hollow one - he may be avoiding paying for the red tape but is still very much bound by it. Although Mosman Council had no-one available for comment it's hoped there will be a change to the Local Environment Plan within the next two years allowing for road access to the Delprats property. "I hate to think that people would feel the need to imitate us but it is the highest form of praise" adds Prince Delprat.