Historic Albany - come and visit our past!

Albany's History


A brief history of settlement

Exploration of the coastline around what is now the thriving regional centre known as Albany began in 1627, when Dutchman Pieter Nuyts sailed the 'Gulden Zeepaardt' through the Great Australian Bight.

Explorers came, and left ...

Successive explorers included George Vancouver, who entered and named King George III Sound in 1791, but was unimpressed with the area's soil. A decade later Matthew Flinders arrived here and, in 1803, Nicholas Baudin sailed his ship into King George III Sound, leading one of a number of French expeditions to the area.

... until the British finally formalized possession

Whalers and sealers working the Southern Ocean were also frequenting the area by the 1820s. Frenchman Dumont D'Urville's visit in 1826 was a driving factor which inspired the British to formalize their possession of the area, a plan that had existed for a number of years.

Another reason was to establish a penal colony in Western Australia, as there was a desire to close the Port Macquarie (NSW) convict station, although this did not eventuate.

The Amity arrives

On the 9th of November 1826, Major Edmund Lockyer, together with a contingent of convicts, soldiers, a surgeon and storekeeper, left Sydney aboard the 'Amity' bound for King George III Sound. The Amity arrived on Christmas Day 1826.

The first settlement in Western Australia

Lockyer selected the site of what is now known as Albany for the crown and thus formed the first Western Australian settlement.

Major Lockyer named his new town 'Frederickstown', after King George III's second son, His Royal Highness Prince Frederick Augustus, Duke of York and Albany - 'The Grand Old Duke Of York'.

Albany was settled some three years before the Swan River colony, later to be known as Perth.

And in the words of the poet ...

Famous Australian writer and poet Henry Lawson travelled to Albany in early 1890, where he worked and wrote for the Albany Observer newspaper. On his return to Sydney in September 1890, he wrote of his time in Albany -

'Albany will never change much - it is a pretty town, but vague. It seems to exist only in a somewhere-on-the-horizon sort of way; I like it all the better for that.'

More information

For more information about Albany's history, please email Albany Historical Society.

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