It is reasonable to suggest that a visitor wanting to see all the
attractions of Albany should really spend a minimum of two days (and
possibly a week) in the town. There are numerous guides to the sights
but the best is the First Settlement Heritage Trail: Settlement and
Development of the Albany District. A Bicentennial Heritage Trail
brochure which is 55 pages long and divides the town and environs in
five separate Heritage Trails.
Albany Historic Town Trail
The major walks (there are two of them) are the Albany Historic Town
Trails which recognise 39 places of significant historical interest
within a 2 km radius of central business district.
The first walk starts at the Old Gaol which was built in the 1850s
as a convict hiring depot. Although Albany was not a penal colony at
this time it continued to accept convicts as farm labourers and hired
hands until 1868. In 1872 the hiring depot became the local gaol with
separate sections for white men, white women and Aborigines. Today it
is the town's main museum with extensive historic presentations of the
local area including maps, photographs, interesting Aboriginal
artifacts, and relics from the penal colony. It is open from 10.30 am -
4.30 pm daily.
Nearby is the charming Residency Museum which was originally built
as a store in the 1850s but converted into the Government Residency
from 1873-1953. It was near this point that Major Lockyer landed and
decided to site Albany. The Museum is open from 10.00 am - 5.00 pm from
Monday to Saturday and 2.00 pm - 5.00 pm on Sundays. Among the museum's
extensive displays are the jaws of a white pointer shark and the huge
rotating lens from the old Eclipse Lighthouse.
Across the beautiful green lawns which now surround the Residency is
the remarkable replica of the Amity which is open for inspection from
9.00 am - 5.00 pm daily.
The walk then moves up the hill past some interesting old cottages
to the Victoria Arts Centre (formerly the Old Albany Hospital built in
1885) and beyond to inspect some delightful late nineteenth century
houses (all privately owned and not open to the public) in Grey Street
West. The residence at 198 Grey Street West is reputed to be on the
site where Wylie was buried and the house at 184 Grey Street West was
built in the mid-1880s by Albany's first Mayor.
At 5 Hotchin Street is Melville House which was built around 1871 by
J. F. T. Hassell (see Kendenup for more details). Members of the
Hassell family continued to live in the house until it was sold in the
The walk then moves across to York Street with its late Victorian,
Classical Revival Town Hall (1886), Scots Presbyterian Church (1891)
and delightful church complex of Church of St John the Evangelist
(1848), which includes the Hall (1889), and the Rectory (1849). The
church, which can claim to be the first consecrated church in Western
Australia, is a fine example of the severe, square Anglo Saxon style
which is commonplace in rural England.
In Duke Street the Wesley Church (1863) stands next to the elaborate
and ornate manse which was given to the church by a local merchant in
1903. Further down Duke Street is Patrick Taylor's Cottage one of the
few buildings in Albany which dates from the town's penal colony days.
A wattle and daub cottage it was probably built as early as 1832.
Certainly it was sold to Patrick Taylor for £200 in 1834 and he
lived in it until his death in 1877. It is now used as a folk museum by
the Albany Historical Society and is open from 2.00 pm - 4.30 pm daily.
Town Walk Heritage Trail
The second town walk starts in Stirling Terrace, that remarkable,
almost other-worldly street which runs from the Museums along to Old
Post Office. The graciousness and old world charm of this area of town
can be directly attributed to the goldrushes of the 1890s which saw
thousands of prospectors pouring into Western Australia through Albany
and making their way north and west to the rich fields of the
Kalgoorlie region. There was a time when miners sailed to Albany,
caught the coach to York and then the train to the goldfields. Albany
was used as an entry point because Fremantle lacked good deep water
port facilities. The result of the goldrushes was that Albany prospered
and most of the elegant buildings in Stirling Terrace were constructed.
The highlight of Stirling Terrace is undoubtedly the Penny Post
Restaurant and the Old Post Office. Construction of this historic post
office building commenced in 1869 and it was opened in 1870. It is
recognised as the oldest Post Office in Western Australia. At the time
of construction it housed a number of colonial authorities including
the District Customs, the Mail Room, the Customs Office and the Bond
Store. It was substantially altered in 1895 with the turrets and towers
being added. The best view of the building can be had from the harbour.
It is huge and gracious. Inside it has an impressive geometric
Apart from the Post Office Building, with its distinctive 25 m
shingled clock tower, Stirling Terrace also has the old Albany
Courthouse (1895-96) with stone arches and an unusual asymmetrical
flared arch, the London Hotel (1909), Albany House (the old Union Bank
building it was completed in 1878), the Empire Buildings at 146-152
Stirling Terrace which date from 1912, the Western Australian Bank
(1885), Dylan's Restaurant (1880s), the Royal George Hotel (1885) and
the Argyle Buildings (1890s).
The Mount Clarence Trails
The Mount Clarence Trail, the third of the Heritage trails, is a
walk from the War Memorial at the end of Apex Drive around the edges of
Mount Clarence. The walk offers superb views of the harbour and the
town and is an ideal way of familiarising yourself with the geography
of Albany and its surrounds.
The Desert Mounted Corps War Memorial has an extraordinary history.
It was originally located at Port Said and was unveiled by W. M.'Billy'
Hughes in 1932. Desecrated during the Suez crisis of 1956 it was
shipped back to Australia in 1959. It could not be rebuilt so a
sculptor was commissioned to remodel the statue which depicted an
Australian soldier going to the aid of a New Zealander. Two models were
made. One is in Canberra and the other was unveiled by R. G. Menzies in
1964. The 9 metre high statue depicts two mounted horsemen confronted
by a bursting shell. The views from the War Memorial are quite
magnificent. It is worth recalling that during World War I Albany was a
major departure point for many of the soldiers of the AIF who fought
and died in the Middle East. For many of those soldiers Albany was
their last sight of the Australian coastline.
Mount Adelaide Heritage Trails
The fourth Heritage Trail is a two hour walk around Mount Adelaide
and combines a nature trail with excellent views over the harbour.
Princess Royal Fortress Trail
The fifth Heritage Trail is known as the Princess Royal Fortress
Trail and is an opportunity to inspect the Princess Royal Fortress
which was completed in 1893 and designed to protect Albany (which is
the only major port between Perth and Port Lincoln) against the
unlikely occurrence of invasion. The fort was continuously manned from
1893-1945. A small staff continued until it was closed down in 1956.
Today visitors can inspect the various buildings which make up the
fortress. There is the Guard House, the Canteen, the Officer
Commanding's Residence, the stables, barracks and married quarters, and
the various guns and artillery storage points. The excellent
restoration of the old buildings, which had been allowed to fall into
disrepair, has returned this unique piece of Australian history to its