Picturesque Albany nestled amidst granite hills and rock formations, overlooks the beautiful King George Sound, a huge natural bay connected to the open sea by a deep, narrow neck of water. Three large hills surround the town - Mount Clarence and Mount Melville offer panoramic views and the historic fort is sited at Mount Adelaide.
Charming historic buildings reflect the early days. The City of around 30,000 people is a progressive regional centre with a wealth of natural and man-made attractions. Albany is blessed with mediterranean climate and rich fertile soils which produce an array of fruit, and vegetables as well as award winning wines. The cafes and restaurants specialise in local seafood and fresh produce.
The First Settlement in Western Australia
In 1791 Captain George Vancouver claimed the southern part of Western Australia for the British Crown at Possession Point and named King Georges Sound and Princess Royal Harbour.
The Amity sailed from Sydney on November 1826 carrying a party under command of Major Lockyer to establish an outpost at King Georges Sound. The brig reached Princess Royal Harbour on Christmas Day and put ashore next day. The party consisted of 23 convicts, (tradesmen) 18 soldiers, two officers and a surgeon. They brought tools, and stores for 6 months including sheep and pigs. The cramped conditions of the men and livestock on board the Amity in rough seas, can only be imagined.
Major Lockyer. named the settlement Frederickstown after the brother of the then reigning King George. It was the first settlement in Western Australia.
The settlement gained prominence as the first port of call in Australia for the mail. It continued to be the major port for Western Australia after the Swan River Settlement was established until Fremantle Harbour was deepened.
In 1831 control of Frederickstown passed from New South Wales to Swan River Settlement. Governor Stirling visited Frederickstown and changed its name to Albany.
Princess Royal Fortress
Princess Royal Fortress on Mount Adelaide was opened in 1893. The fort continued its vigil, never firing a shot in anger and was closed in 1956.
The Amity Trail
A number of heritage attractions can be visited on The Amity Trail - the Amity Replica, The Residency, home of the Government Resident, the Old Gaol which was the convict hiring depot and others. There is the Old Strawberry Farm and other attractions.
The War Memorial
An impressive war memorial statue was re-erected on Mount Clarence where the men of the invasion fleet might have caught their last glimpse of Australia.
Whales visit Albany each year between May and October and can be seen in the Sound.
Whaling was once Albanys major industry.
Whaling ceased in 1978. Humpback and Right Whales are seen from May to November and seals and dolphins all year. Albany whaling station was the last in Australia to close. It is now a world class tourist attraction complete with whale chaser ship and oil storage tanks.
Torrndirrup National Park
Torrndirrup National Park has dramatic coastal
scenery and rock formations.
The Gap - the 24 metre drop to the sea is awesome when a heavy swell is running.
The Natural Bridge - a huge granite suspension.
Stirling and Porongorup Ranges
The magnificent Stirling and Porongorup Ranges offer spectacular views, numerous walking trails and an abundance of wild flowers and fauna.
Giants of the Forest
The giant tree country, the awe inspiring Kauri Forests are about an hours drive away, just west of Albany.
Albany Wind Farm
The 22MW Albany Wind Farm, the largest in Australia, is 12kms from the city centre. Exposed to strong consistent winds and built at a cost of $43million, the turbines automatically face the wind.
Winds as low as 7kmh set the blades turning. If the wind reaches more than 120kmh the turbines shut down to prevent damage. Research revealed there is only an average of 7 days when the wind is not strong enough to turn the blades. Each of the 12 turbines produces up to 1.84MW of electricity, carries three 35m long blades and sits on top of a 65m tower.
*Each tower foundation required 420 tonnes of concrete in a block 2.4m thick and 12m diameter.
*Less than 1mm tolerance was permitted when laying the foundation, otherwise the tower would be off-centre