Albany - History of the first settlement in Western Australia

Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 15:35


Albany was settled some three years before the Swan River colony, later to be known as Perth.

There were several European explorer visits to the Albany shores prior to British settlement. The Dutchman François Thijssen in 1627 is the earliest recorded visitor.

On the 19th October 1800, the Baudin Expedition set sail from Le Havre in Normandy, France with two ships. Separated by storms, the two ships charted the Western Australian coast independently from Cape Leeuwin in the south west corner to Joseph Bonaparte Gulf near Wyndham in the north. With 23 scientists in the party, over 200,000 specimens of flora and fauna were collected. The Expedition was responsible for hundreds of French place names in Australia, of which around 240 are still in use in Western Australia. Baudin charted nearly two thirds of the Australian coastline.

On the 9th of November 1826, Major Edmund Lockyer, together with a contingent of convicts, soldiers, a surgeon and storekeeper, left Sydney aboard the 'Amity' bound for King George III Sound. The Amity arrived on Christmas Day 1826.

The Amity sailed from Sydney on 9th November 1826, carrying a party under the command of Major Edmund Lockyer, who had orders to form a settlement at King George Sound.

After a difficult voyage, the first half battling through heavy weather in Bass Strait and the second enduring the summer heat of the westward run, the brig reached Princess Royal Harbour on Christmas Day.

Frederickstown was founded in January 1827 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 Frederickstown in honour of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany but later changed to Albany .

The replica Brig Amity

The project to build a replica of the brig Amity commenced in 1972. After much discussion and research, construction started in 1975, with local boat builder Mr Stan Austin as project supervisor and Mr Pieter van de Brugge as leading shipwright. Other local craftsmen joined the team, with the aim of making the replica the focal point of celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the brig's arrival.

When you visit this full-size replica, try to imagine more than 50 men, together with stores, sheep and pigs, sharing this small vessel in a difficult journey taking over six weeks. Imagine the stench below deck with 61 men living so close. The bedding was basic, with straw filled mattresses, coarse blankets and kit bags as pillows.

The Albany Historical Society, under an arrangement with the City of Albany , is proud to manage the Brig Amity.

The Old Gaol and Museum

The Old Goal was built by convicts in 1852 for Imperial convicts shipped to WA as artisans and skilled labourers.

Women’s cells, the Great Hall and more warders' quarters were constructed of brick between 1872 and 1875. At that time the complex was also used as a colonial prison.

The Gaol was last used as a police lockup in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Extensive restoration from 1989 to 1996 returned the Gaol's condition to its original state. Cells, warders' quarters and the Great Hall contain displays pertinent to the times and usage of these stark quarters.

Patrick Taylor Cottage Museum

This eleven room wattle and daub home is the oldest surviving dwelling in Western Australia.

Built circa 1832, this was a substantial cottage consisting of an entry, boxroom, parlour, nursery, bedroom, dining room, family room, sewing room, kitchen, laundry and side verandah. Many beautiful artefacts, covering several past eras, are displayed in the various rooms. The rendered wattle and daub walls have been maintained and the floor boards are mostly original, but the shingle roof has been replaced with corrugated iron.

Mouchemore's Cottage

Built in the 1850s, this is the only surviving cottage of five built in the area. Salvaged ships' timbers were used in parts of the cottage's timber frame. For most of its life, the cottage has been home to families who worked in the maritime industry, including whaling, water police and fishing. The fishing family, the Mouchemores, purchased the cottage in 1905 and lived here until 1998.

Read more about Albany and our other Travelogues and come touring Australia with us.

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