top of page

Home |Historic Albany | H.M. Colonial brig Amity

Brig Amity.jpg

H.M. Colonial brig Amity

The voyage that laid the foundation of what would become the first settlement of Western Australia. 

Tlle party therefore encamped at the base of what they after- wards callecl Mount Melville. It is on the north side of the har- bour, about a mile within the elltrallce, and close to alle spot occu- pied ly Captaill Flinders ill the year 1801*.

History of the Sound

K

ing George Sound is located on Western Australia’s south coast and stretches between Bald Head and Flinders Peninsula on the southwest and Cape Vancouver on the northeast. The Sound has two extensions, Oyster Harbour to the north and Princess Royal Harbour to the west. Although the Sound is open water to the east, the waters are partially protected by Michaelmas and Breaksea Islands.  Seal and Mistaken Islands are also within the Sound.  Princess Royal Harbour was Western Australia's only deep water port for approximately 70 years until the Fremantle Inner Harbour was opened in 1897. 

ing George Sound is located on Western Australia’s south coast and stretches between Bald Head and Flinders Peninsula on the southwest and Cape Vancouver on the northeast. The Sound has two extensions, Oyster Harbour to the north and Princess Royal Harbour to the west. Although the Sound is open water to the east, the waters are partially protected by Michaelmas and Breaksea Islands.  Seal and Mistaken Islands are also within the Sound.  Princess Royal Harbour was Western Australia's only deep water port for approximately 70 years until the Fremantle Inner Harbour was opened in 1897. 

The south west coast of Australia was initially surveyed by Dutchman, Pieter Nuytz on the vessel 't Gulden Zeeparedt 'The Golden Seahorse' commanded by Captain Francois Thijssen as part of a landmark expedition of the Dutch East India Company during 1626–27 and is the earliest recorded explorer. 

It wasn’t until 1791, some 164 years later that Captain George Vancouver onboard the HMS Discovery and accompanied by the armed tender HMS Chatham, sailed past Michaelmas and Breaksea Islands and named King George the Third’s Sound after the reigning English king, later to become known as King George's Sound and today King George Sound. After exploring along the coast, Vancouver discovered one of the world’s finest natural harbours and named her, Princess Royal Harbour after Princess Charlotte Augusta Matilda, the first daughter and fourth child of King George III.

The Sound was used as a whaling base as early as 1801 and the King George Sound settlement was founded in 1826, calling the settlement Frederick Town and was formalised on the 21st January 1827. The Sound was the gateway port to Australia for international passenger ships in the 1860s to the late nineteenth century.

In 1832, Governor of Western Australia, Captain James Stirling renamed the town to Albany, but the broader area continued to be referred to as King George's Sound for many years.

The Princess Royal Fortress was opened in 1893, the first federal defence of Australia. The loss of a strategic port such as King George Sound, to any enemy was recognised as a potential threat to the security of Australia. All the Australian colonies agreed to proportionally pay for the construction of the fort with the British Government supplying the guns. From 1893 until 1956 the guns of King George Sound maintained their role as a deterrent, never firing a shot as an action of defence. 

In 1908,  the American "Great White Fleet" made a necessary stop in Albany, arriving on the 11th of September.  The U.S fleets required their coal supplies to be replenishing and the colliers were to meet the fleet however were delayed.  Albany provided the ideal geographical location for the fleet, before completing the 3,500 mile transit to Manilla. 

On 1st November 1914, the first fleet of 38 troopships assembled in King George Sound, 28 from Australia, ten from New Zealand, carrying approximately 29,000 men and just over 7,000 horses with seven of the warships as escorts. At first it was suggested that Fremantle should be the place for the ships to assemble, until it was pointed out that King George Sound had a far larger safe harbour and there were a lot of ships being gathered. They came from Australia and New Zealand, collecting to travel in convoy from King George Sound via Ceylon and the Suez Canal to training camps in Egypt. For many, their last contact with Australia.

On 8th March 1836, HMS Beagle visited the Sound and anchored for eight days. On board was the young naturalist Charles Darwin who collected flora specimens. The Beagle was on her last leg of her celebrated circumnavigation of the world, having already stopped off at Sydney.

During World War II,  the Sound played a significant role in Allied submarine operations and was used as a U.S. naval base and a small area known as Stoney Hill contributed to defence efforts in both World War I and World War II. 

bottom of page