Albany, WA

The National ANZAC Centre , Albany.

“On November 1, 1914, 30,000 young Australians and New Zealanders departed from Albany in Western Australia on board a flotilla of ships bound for Egypt and the battlefields of the Great War. The ANZAC legend wasn’t even born as the 38 ships steamed out of the whaling port bound for Alexandria in Egypt, but just six months later on April 25, 1915 that legend would be forged on the beaches and rocky hillsides of the Turkish coast at a place called Gallipoli. The convoy carrying the first Australian Imperial Force and the New Zealand Expeditionary Force included the cruisers HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Sydney as well as the Royal Navy’s HMS Minotaur. It was joined at sea two days later by ships carrying troops from WA and South Australia under escort by the Japanese cruiser HIJMS Ibuki.” The Centenary of  ANZAC .  At the time of WW1 Japan was an ally of Britain, they did not enter the war but the Japanese Navy were called upon to escort and protect the allied fleets. “The troopships might be ready for embarkation but with the whereabouts of several German warships uncertain, Imperial authorities remained unwilling to risk their passage across the Indian Ocean until a sufficiently powerful naval escort could be assembled.” Australian Navy.  The troop ships were converted merchant ships and passenger liners, so had no way to defend themselves. Femantle was suggested for the first convoy to assemble, refuel and take on supplies. However, Albany was eventually chosen because its large safe harbour was able to accommodate many ships.

Convoy Lookout. This is how the ships were lined up in King George Sound, which is in the background.

In the avenue leading to Convoy Lookout , there are about 25  plaques listing every ship in the convoy and noting various things about the ship including how many officers, other ranks and horses were on board.

Some interesting reading. 38 ships: The Voyage to ANZAC and Troopships leave Albany 1914.

If you haven’t been to the The National ANZAC Centre in Albany, go. It is inspiring, heartbreaking, thought provoking, educational and emotionally and mentally challenging. We always thought we had a good understanding of the story of the ANZACs, until we visited here.  And give yourself at least 4 hours, to see and experience everything. Taking photos inside was difficult due to the light so most of these were taken outside or in the outer buildings.

Apparently the first ANZAC dawn service was held in Albany by Padre Arthur White.

What started WW1?

Field of Light: Avenue of Honor  is an immersive art installation by Bruce Munro illuminating the Avenue of Honour at Mt Clarence in homage to the ANZACs who departed from Albany for the Great War. Our pictures do it no justice. It was very moving and beautiful by night and day.

In Albany we stayed at Rose Gardens Caravan Park, Emu Point which was nice, although it only had one small rose garden. The sites are a good size and there are trees and grass. Some amenity blocks are new while others are quite old and uncared for. It’s right on the beach but with no beach views. Every morning a chorus of magpie warbles would ring out, which was magical.

We could walk to Emu Point swimming beach where there is a pontoon and marked swimming lanes but no shark net. We enjoyed swimming there, the water seemed warmer, perhaps because of all the sandbars around.

The other nice swimming beach is Ellen Cove on Middleton Beach. It has a pontoon and jetty and trial shark net, which hasn’t work as well as it should have. The water there was a lot colder than at Emu Point.

Albany is a very bike friendly town with wonderful bike / walking paths including  the Bibbulmun Track which at 1,000km long, from Perth to Albany, is one of the worlds great long distance walking tracks with camp sites spaced one day’s walk apart. There is also a bike track from Perth to Albany called Munda Biddi . We rode from Emu Point to the commercial Port of Albany and back, a  mere 22km ride.  Very hilly but great fun and wonderful views.

We passed the 35th Parallel South.

Tim was able to fix my gears at one of the bike repair stations available.

The coastal path goes past many monuments and lookouts in honour of the ANZACs and the battle of Gallipoli. One is of this remarkable man Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. A Turkish commander in the battle of Gallipoli,  after the war he spent his life striving for world peace. “Those hero’s that shed their blood and lost their lives …. you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore Rest In Peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmet to us where they lie side by side….. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are at peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well”.  (Ataturk 1934) The UN and UNESCO described him as a “remarkable promoter of the sense of understanding between peoples and durable peace between the nations of the world and that he worked all his life for the development of harmony and cooperation between peoples without distinction”.

The replica of The Brig Amity at Albany Museum. Tried to get lots of pictures for our friend Jim who we know would love this.

Also at the museum was a small selection of … “The Fremantle International Portrait Prize (FiPP) is the offbeat, compelling portrait photography award the whole world is coming to love. To date there have been more than 4,000 entries from 40 countries (including Russia, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, South America, and the USA), making it the most successful photographic portrait competition in Western Australia and one of the biggest in Australia.”

Other pictures from around Albany.

Torndirrup National Park is fabulous, great views and lots of bush walks. We visited the Gap and Natural Bridge, the Blowholes, Stony HIll and Frenchman Bay.

The Gap and Natural Bridge. “The surging power of the Southern Ocean is evident at The Gap, a spectacular channel in the 40m high coastal granites of Torndirrup National Park. Visitors can venture onto a viewing platform 40 metres directly above the surging seas ”.   And what they don’t tell you is that you can see right through the floor into the swirling ocean below.

The Blowholes weren’t blowing the day we went, the sea was very calm,  but the noise was horrendous, like a volcano trying to erupt.

Stony Hill Lookout the highest point in Torndirrup National Park.

The HIstoric Whaling Station near Frenchman Bay Albany  was closed when we got there but apparently they have a skeleton of a blue whale.

Heading to Coalmine Beach today. Cheers until next time. Helen & Tim