Friday, 12 August 2016

Albany, Western Australia- war memorials

Last week I visited Albany, which is at the southern tip of Western Australia, about 4.5h drive south of Perth. Albany has a very impressive set of war memorials, many of which have been improved recently for WW1 centennial commemorations. I took a fair few photos- the weather was lovely with bright blue skies. The pictures don't convey what a lovely trip this was.

The WW1 convoys

In late October 1914 a convoy of over 30 ships stayed a few days at Albany before departing for Europe. They carried over 30 000 Australian and NZ troops, and thus Albany was the literal last sight of Australia many would ever have. It was also the first large meeting of the commonwealth forces, and a genesis of ANZAC. The transports moored in King George Sound, where today plaques on the hills above show what the moored ships would have looked like. They weren't grey, but were green, blue, and yellow, with numbers on their sides.
The first convoy moored in King George Sound

King George Sound

Views from the top

The convoy was rerouted to Egypt, and the troops wound up in Gallipoli. A second, slightly smaller, convoy came through in December 1914.

The National ANZAC Centre

I confess I didn't know this existed, but it opened in 2014. It is a compact and very modern museum to the Australian and New Zealand efforts in WW1. It strikes an excellent balance between information, recorded experiences, preserved items, and room for contemplation. There is a spectacular indoors pool of reflection with a view out over the bay. I didn't take any photos inside.

National ANZAC Centre

The Princess Royal Fort

The ANZAC Centre is located in the grounds of the Princess Royal Fort, which was a working coastal defence fort from the 1890s to the 1950s. The parade ground is now the carpark, and there are well-maintained gun emplacements and associated buildings.

6" gun

Cutaway 6"

Garrison building overlooking the parade ground

Back of the Commandant's house- now a fancy restaurant!

Within the grounds is a quonset hut housing items from HMAS Perth. Perth was deliberately sunk off, ahem, Perth to become a diving site.

There are also a collection of naval guns and missiles.

HMAS Perth

Ikara anti-submarine missile


Submarine memorials

The Australian submarine AE2 accompanied the first convoy to the mediterranean, where she slipped through the Dardanelles before being sunk on 30 April 1915. She has a memorial on a jetty in Princess Royal Harbour.
AE2 memorial

Looking back into town

Albany was a US submarine base during 1942. Over 500 US submarine patrols were launched from Australia. The black torpedo in the photos above was donated by the US Navy to commemorate this. There is a memorial to those 'still on patrol'.
USN submariners' memorial

The Desert Mounted Corps memorial

On the hill overlooking Albany is the Desert Mounted Corps memorial. The Desert Mounted Corps included the famous lighthorsemen who performed the charge at Beersheba, as well as capturing Jerusalem.
Desert Mounted Corps Memorial

The memorial overlooking King George Sound

The statue is spectacular. The original was in Egypt, and was destroyed by a mob in the Suez Crisis. This replica was built and sited in Albany in the 1960s.

ANZAC Peace Park

In the town of Albany itself, there is a small park dedicated to ANZACs and peace. It has multiple plaques outlining the town's involvement in WW1. Over 2100 local men enlisted, out of a population of 4500.
ANZAC Peace Park
ANZAC Peace Park
ANZAC Peace Park

There is a grove of pine trees which are cut from the original Lone Pine (for more information on Lone Pine, see my post here). I found these strangely moving.
Lone Pine grove

There is also a 1970s replica of the brig Amity, which brought the first British settlers to the area in 1826.
Brig Amity


I was very impressed with the scope of memorials in Albany. It is a lovely historic town, full of federation buildings. If you are down that way, you must pay it a visit. Finally, in the bushland around the fort, I found a few natives!
Two skinks

A bandicoot!


  1. Beautiful pics, Barks. It seems like you had a lovely trip. Your photos really capture the meditative quality that a lot of war monuments possess.

    1. There weren't many people around, so it was quite peaceful as well, which helps.

  2. Sounds like a wonderful trip mate. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pics!

    1. Cheers, Millsy, glad for the opportunity!

  3. Great pics, thanks for sharing. I spent a bit of time in HMAS PERTH myself!

    Interesting fact - the ANZAC convoy that sailed from Albany was escorted by a combined naval force including Japanese warships. The task of diverting an escort to proceed to intercept the German raider Eden at Cocus island was originally given to the Japanese ship but later changed to HMAS Sydney. She went on to destroy the German ship in the Royal Australian Navy's first victory at sea (having been formally stablished in 1911)

    1. I was wondering if you had any connections!

      I knew about the Japanese escorts, but not that they almost got to take a swing at the Emden.

  4. Great post. I'm due another visit, but when the weather warms up

  5. Thanks for posting these pictures and the background! I would like to try to get over there one day and see them for myself...