Friday, August 2, 2013


Not only is Albany the first on the list it is also my favourite holiday place.  There is so much to see and do there that even if you stayed for a month there would be things and places you probably wouldn't have time to visit.

Wikipedia tells us that Albany (pronounced aelbeni) is a port city in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, some 418 km SE of Perth, the state capital.  As of 2009, Albany's population was estimated at 33,600 making it the sixth-largest city in the state (I feel the population may have grown somewhat in the past 5 or so years as it is a very popular place for retirees).  The city centre is at the northern edge of Princess Royal Harbour, which is part of King George Sound.

King George Sound as painted by William Westall in 1803.  (Westall (1781-1850) was a landscape artist aboard "Investigator" the ship that Matthew Flinders commanded on his famous voyage of discovery to Terra Australis, a voyage that has in time come to be regarded as one of the great scientific and botanical studies ever undertaken.

The CBD is bounded by Mount Clarence to the east and Mount Melville to the west.  The main street is York Street which leads down to the harbour.

Albany was founded in January 1827 as a military outpost of New South Wales as part of a plan to forestall French ambitions in the region.  The area was initially named Frederickstown in honour of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany.  In 1831, the settlement was transferred to the control of the Swan River Colony and renamed Albany by Governor James Stirling.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the town served as a gateway to the Eastern Goldfields and, for many years, it was the colony's only deep-water port, having a place of eminence on shipping between Britain and its Australian colonies.  (My adoptive parents arrived on the "Euripides" from England in 1920 and disembarked at Albany).    Port of Albany is shown below:

The construction of Fremantle Harbour in 1893, however, saw its importance as a port decline, after which the town's industries turned primarily to agriculture, timber and, later, whaling,  Unlike Perth and Fremantle, Albany was a strong supporter of Federation in 1901.

Today the town is a place of significance as a tourist destination and base from which to explore the south-west of the state and is well regarded for its natural beauty and preservation of heritage.  The town has an important role in the ANZAC legend, being the last port of call for troopships departing Australia in the First World War.  Below is the memorial built atop Mount Clarence, and the view from Mount Clarence overlooking King George Sound:

Albany is the oldest permanently settled town in Western Australia, predating Perth and Fremantle by some two years.

Here are some scenes in and around Albany that hopefully will show the diversity of this area:

Middleton Beach:  (we have often stayed in a exceptionally good unit at Dolphin Lodge, only a few metres from here):

Sunset over Middleton Beach:

The Convict Gaol:  In Western Australia, unlike New South Wales and Tasmania, the convict system was based on the idea of rehabilitation.  Convicts were transported from England over an 18 year period, between 1850 and 1868, and the Old Gaol began as a Convict Hiring Depot.  Most of the convicts had their ticket-of-leave and were hired to work by free settlers.  They also manned the pilot boat and engaged in rebuilding York Street and Stirling Terrace as well as transforming the track from Albany to Perth into a good road.  The old gaol has now been fully restored and is now a Museum,  popular with visitors to the town.

Replica of the Brig Amity:  Built in 1975/76 this is an exact replica of the Brig Amity.  This sailing ship sits on dry land next to a lake.  It was this ship that brought the first of Western Australia's white settlers to Albany from Sydney.  It landed on the shore at Princess Royal Harbour on Christmas Day in 1826, not far from the replica's location.  For a gold coin donation you can walk around the ship on the decks and below.  We did this years ago and were astounded at how cramped the quarters were below deck. One can't help wondering what the voyage was like when crossing the Southern Ocean westwards from Sydney.

Dog Rock:  This familiar Albany landmark looks an awful lot like the head of large dog, but it's actually just a hug chunk of granite poking up out of the ground by the side of the road that leads to Middleton Beach.  Someone's even painted a collar on it!!  There are many controversial legends about this large rock none of which has been confirmed.

Two People's Bay Nature Reserve:  It is home to two endangered creatures that are all but extinct everywhere else - the Noisy Scrub Bird and Gilbert's Potaroo.  The reserve has a landscape of windswept coastal heath with a few lakes and hills.  The main reason to visit is the exceptionally beautiful Little Beach and Waterfall Beach, or to launch a boat at Two People's Bay to go fishing.

A huge beach with a shady picnic area at the far south-western end, where a walk trail to Little Beach begins.  The bay is open and windy but protected from the largest of the Southern Ocean waves but its east-facing orientation.  There is good fishing from the rocks between Two People's Bay beach and Little Beach, or from a boat out in the middle of the bay.

There are many, many more beautiful areas around Albany so have decided to make this Part 1 and there be more pictures in Part 2.  I can never get enough of Albany so hope you will enjoy it with me. We have often thought of how wonderful it would be to retire down here but the distance from Perth means we would see our family even less than we do now so we have stayed put where we are.


  1. Oh I could see myself retiring there it is an awesome little town. I love the history and I must say love Dog rock. Take care Hug B

    1. You can see why it is so popular with retirees can't you? Hope you will like the second lot of pics as well. I've not done it justice as there are surrounding areas that are also very beautiful. xx

  2. So it isn't Orl-beni? Everyone I know says I have to retrain my brain.
    It looks like a wonderful place to visit, I'd love to walk through the brig Amity and give Dog Rock a pat, then walk along the beaches.
    I love towns that have a main road directly to the harbour.

  3. The English pronounce it ORL-beni but not,it is definitely AL-beni. I think Albury in the eastern states is pronounced ORL-beri. We just like to be different over here. lol
    If you ever do get the chance to visit Albany I am sure you would love it. You do need a car though as there is much, much more to see than I've shown. I've just scratched the surface.

  4. Car schmar! I'll use a bus. They have buses there, right?

  5. Yes they would have day tours and that type of thing. You could perhaps talk your brother into going to Albany as well and you'd then have a chauffeur. lol