Albany is a city on the south coast of Western Australia, 408 kilometres south-southeast of Perth. Its population at the ABS 2001 census was 22,256, and it is located within the City of Albany local government area. The city centre of Albany is located between the hills of Mount Melville and Mount Clarence which look down into Princess Royal Harbour. There are many beaches surrounding Albany, with Middleton Beach being the closest to the town centre.
The main industries of Albany consist of tourism, fishing and agriculture, although before the 1950s whaling was one of the major sources of income and employment for the population. The Whaling Station, which closed operations in 1979, has now been converted to a museum of whaling, and features one of the ‘Cheynes’ whale chasers that were used for whaling in Albany. The station was the last operating whaling station in the Southern Hemisphere at the time of closing.
The Western Power Wind Farm in Albany is the largest and newest in Australia. Its 12 turbines, driven by strong southerly winds, generate 75% of the town’s electricity usage.
Albany also has a number of historic tourist sites including the Museum, Albany Convict Gaol, The Princess Royal Fortress (commonly known as The Forts), Patrick Taylor Cottage, (“is the oldest dwelling in Western Australia, c1832”). Albany has a great deal of historical significance to Western Australia.
Natural sights are also numerous, especially the rugged coast which includes the Natural Bridge and the Gap. The beaches have pristine white sand. The HMAS Perth was sunk in King George Sound in 2001 as a dive wreck. Albany is also close to two mountain ranges, the Porongurups and Stirling Ranges. Albany is also the southern terminus of the Bibbulmun Track walking trail. Albany is home to HMAS Albany (based in Darwin) and the adopted home port of the Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Anzac. Albany is frequently visited by other warships.