Albany /ˈælbəni/ is a port city in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, 418 km SE of Perth, the state capital. Albany is the oldest permanently settled town in Western Australia, predating Perth and Fremantle by over two years. At the 2011 Census, Albany's population was 30,656, making it the state's sixth-largest population centre.
The city centre is at the northern edge of Princess Royal Harbour, which is a part of King George Sound. The central business district is bounded by Mount Clarence to the east and Mount Melville to the west. The city is in the local government area of the City of Albany.
Albany was founded on 26 December 1826 as a military outpost of New South Wales as part of a plan to forestall French ambitions in the region. The area was initially named Frederick Town in honour of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. In 1831, the settlement was transferred to the control of the Swan River Colony and renamed Albany by Lieutenant-Governor James Stirling.
During the last decade of the 19th century the town served as a gateway to the Eastern Goldfields. For many years, it was the colony's only deep-water port, having a place of eminence on shipping services between Britain and its Australian colonies. The opening of the Fremantle Inner Harbour in 1897, however, saw its importance as a port decline, after which the town's industries turned primarily to agriculture, timber and later, whaling. Unlike Perth andFremantle, Albany was a strong supporter of Federation in 1901.
Today the town is a significant tourist destination and base from which to explore the south-west of the state, and is well regarded for its natural beauty and preservation of heritage. The town has an important role in the ANZAC legend, being the last port of call for troopships departing Australia in the First World War.
York Street in Albany
The Albany region was home to the Menang Noongar people, who made use of the area during the summer months for fishing and other activities. They called the area Kinjarling which means "the place of rain". Many town names in South-Western Australia end in "up" or "ing", which means "place of" in the Noongar language. They would sometimes camp near "Boondie Yokine" – roughly translated as Dog Rock. Early European explorers discovered evidence of fish traps located on Emu Point and on the French, now the Kalgan, River and a small "village" of bark dwellings that were, at the time, deserted.
The coastline of the Albany area was observed for the first time in 1627 by the Dutchman François Thijssen, captain of the ship 't Gulden Zeepaert (The Golden Seahorse), who sailed to the east as far as Ceduna in South Australia and back. Captain Thijssen had discovered the south coast of Australia and charted about 1,800 kilometres (1,100 mi) of it between Cape Leeuwin and the Nuyts Archipelago.
In 29 September 1791, explorer Captain George Vancouver while exploring the south coast, entered and named King George the Third's Sound and Princess Royal Harbour, and took possession of New Holland for the British Crown. Vancouver went out of his way to establish good relationships with the local Aboriginal people.
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