Albany, Western Australia

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Location of Albany, Western Australia

Albany is a city of approximately 30,000 people on the south coast of Western Australia, 261 miles southeast of Perth.

It is the oldest continuous settlement in Western Australia, and was founded in 1826, three years before the state capital of Perth. The King George Sound settlement was a hastily-despatched British military outpost, intended to forestall any plans by France for settlements in Western Australia.

Until the construction of Fremantle Port in 1897, Albany was also home to the only deepwater port in Western Australia, Princess Royal Harbour, which is the largest natural harbour in Western Australia and also on the entire south coast of the Australia mainland, outside of Melbourne. This facility meant that for many years, the first port of call for the mail from England was Albany. This put Albany in a priviliged position over Perth and it remained that way until CY O'Connor used dynamite on the reef blocking the entrance into the Swan River in Fremantle.

The city is nestled between three large hills, Mount Clarence, Mount Melville and Mount Adelaide, facing King George Sound.

Albany was the port chosen for the ANZAC fleet to gather prior to its departure for Europe in 1914; a memorial to this has been established on top of Mount Clarence. It was also where the first Commemorative dawn service was held April 25th, 1923. See ANZAC Day. The contribution of Kemal Atatürk, president of Turkey during WWI, is recognised by naming the entrance into Princess Royal Harbour as Ataturk Channel.

Since that time, Albany has become popular with retirees, with inhabitants enjoying the fresh air, clean beaches, and fine views over the Southern Ocean, while still proving a thriving regional centre.

The main industries of Albany consist of tourism, fishing and agriculture, although before the 1950s whaling was one of the major sources of income and employment for the population. The Whaling Station has now been converted to a museum of whaling, and features one of the 'Cheynes' whale chasers what were used for whaling in Albany.

The Western Power Wind Farm in Albany is the largest and newest in Australia. Its 12 turbines, driven by strong southerly winds, generate 75% of the town's electricity usage.

Albany also has a number of historic tourist sites including the Museum, Old Goal, the Forts and Patrick Taylors Cottage. Albany has much historical significance.

Natural sights are also numerous, especially the rugged coast which includes the Natural Bridge and the Gap. The beaches have pristine white sand. The HMAS Perth was sunk in the King George Sound in 2001 as a dive wreck. Albany is also a close to two mountain ranges, the Porongorups and Stirling Ranges.

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