Albany is located on the South Coast of Western Australia, approximately 400kms from Perth. Travel to Albany from Perth by car takes about 4.5 to 5 hours. The flight from Perth Airport to Albany Airport is just over an hour. This distance means that Albany is rarely somewhere people will pass through. It is more often the primary destination for anyone wanting to explore the Great Southern region.
A Regional City
Albany is neither a country town nor is it a major metropolitan city. It offers the best of both worlds.
With a population of just under 40,000, it is the largest community in the Great Southern part of WA and the only city in the region. Being a regional city, it is small enough to possess many of the great qualities of a large country town, such as a sense of community and short transit times to work, schools and other amenities.
Modern Facilities and Lots to Do
Albany is large enough to feature a great selection of cafes, restaurants and a range of evening entertainment venues. In addition, there are multiple retails hubs, lots of things to do, and excellent facilities such as a modern hospital, a TAFE, and a centrally located UWA campus.
It is a great place to raise a family with a good selection of primary & high schools and many sports & activity programs, all part of a very safe and friendly community. Taking the family on an outing to the beach or to do some sightseeing is often just a short 5 to 10 minute drive. For those willing to travel a little further, neighbouring towns such as Denmark and Mt Barker are only half an hour away.
Having all of the amazing tourist attractions on your doorstep and the facilities of a modern regional city seems almost too good to be true – but it isn’t. Open spaces & beautiful surrounds, easy access to modern facilities and a greater sense of belonging to a community are all tangible benefits of living in Albany.
A Bit of Albany History
Albany plays a major part in the history of Western Australia. As the first English settlement in the state and with archaeological evidence dating back over 18,000 years the area is rich in both Aboriginal and European history.
The oldest known inhabitants of the Albany area are the Menang Noongar people. Their name for the area is Kinjarling, which has been said to mean “place of plenty” and “place of rain” and is part of the broader Wagyl Kaip region. The fish traps located at the mouth of the Kalgan River provide one of the few archeological remnants of the Menang people, dating more that 7,500 years.
European settlement began in 1826 when the area was established as an English military outpost with the intention of building a penal colony. At that time it was named “Frederick Town” after Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. In 1831 Frederick Town was formally proclaimed part of the Swan River Colony and the following year was renamed as Albany.
During the 1800s Albany was an important port for ships travelling to the Eastern states from Europe and became the point of embarkation for Eastern states travellers during the West Australian gold rush. Whaling was established as a major industry that provided economic support to the area and continued until 1978.
Albany features strongly in the ANZAC legend, being the departure point for the largest detachment of troops during the First World War.
In 1923 the first ever dawn service was held and since then has become an event that attracts thousands every year.
On November 1st, 2014 major celebrations were held to commemorate the centenary of the original troop embarkation.
Many historical landmarks and monuments of Albany’s History remain today and are available for all to experience providing a fascinating journey through history.
Albany is classified as a Mediterranean-type climate. During summer, there are many fine days of weather providing ample opportunity to spend the day outdoors playing a sport, going for a swim or enjoying an outdoor gathering. Winter will have some cold days, and rainfall is healthy, but sunny days are frequent. Living near the coast means it is rare to experience bitterly cold days such as those found inland.
The Great Southern is home to some of the most distinctive wildflowers in the world. After the winter rains, gardens and local bushland will become vividly colourful as Spring arrives. Autumn is equally as colourful with deciduous trees and their red-golden leaves being popular around many parts of town.