The town of Albany in the Great Southern plays a central role in the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) legend, being the last port of call for troopships departing Australia for the First World War. Albany was the last place in Australia that the ANZACs saw (and in most cases, ever saw) and is therefore a prominent memorial. The first ever recorded Dawn Service was conducted by Anglican Chaplain Padre White (44th Battalion AIF) on 25 April 1923 in Albany, and has been held ever since with several thousand people participating each year. November 1, 2014 marked 100 years since the largest detachment of ANZAC troops departed Australia, many never to return.
The National Anzac Centre in Albany honours the ANZACs of the First World War. Set within Albany Heritage Park, Western Australia, the Centre offers visitors a deeply personal connection with the Anzac legend revealed through interactive, multimedia displays; unique artefacts; rare images and film; and audio commentary. The National Anzac Centre was opened by the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand and the Premier of Western Australia on 1 November 2014: the centenary of the first Australian and New Zealand convoy’s departure to war from Albany’s King George Sound. Find out more at www.nationalanzaccentre.com.au.
Albany Heritage Park
The Albany Heritage Park was established by the City of Albany in 2010 to integrate various historical, natural, cultural and recreational assets located on Mount Clarence and Mount Adelaide.
The Park incorporates a range of significant pre and post European cultural and historical attractions – many with military connections including Princess Royal Fortress, the Desert Mounted Corp Memorial, Padre White Lookout, and the Ataturk memorial.
Princess Royal Fortress
The Fort was opened in 1893 and was the first federal defense of Australia. The Princess Royal Fortress has two gun batteries dug into the hillside of Mount Adelaide - Fort Princess Royal and Fort Plantagenet. From 1893 to 1956 the guns maintained their role as a deterrent and never fired a shot in anger.
In 1956 and all coastal defences including the Princess Royal Fortress were closed. The buildings were used as school rooms, migrant hostels and a holiday camp. This site now houses a number of significant museum display areas, including the Military Heritage Centre, Ellam-Innes Collection, Naval Display, Australian Light Horse Museum, former HMAS Perth Interpretive Centre and the First Dawn Display.
Padre White Lookout
The Padre White Lookout is a steel walkway structure located at the top of Mt Clarence. The walkway curves with the surrounding rocks and marks the spot where the Rector of St John’s church, Padre White, stood in 1930 after leading a pilgrimage from his church in York Street to Mt Clarence, in what is claimed to be the first ever observance of a Dawn Parade on ANZAC Day.
Avenue of Honour and Desert Mounted Corps Memorial
Large gum trees line the Avenue of Honour on Apex Drive – the road to the top of Mt Clarence. At the base of each tree planted from 1955-56 is the name of a soldier lost at war.
The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial stands at the summit of Mt Clarence. It is a recast of the original memorial which stood at Port Said in Egypt from 1932 depicting a mounted Australian Light-Horseman defending a New Zealand Mounted Rifleman standing beside his wounded horse. The original memorial was destroyed during the Suez War of 1956 but the granite blocks were salvaged and erected in Albany in 1964 and bullet marks can still be seen on them.
Mt Clarence is the site of Albany’s Anzac Day dawn service on 25 April each year.
In 1985 as part of a reciprocal agreement, the beach at Gallipoli where the Australian and New Zealand troops landed was named "Anzac Cove" while the channel leading into the Princess Royal Harbour in Albany was named Ataturk Chanel. Overlooking the channel on the scenic boardwalk that winds from Albany Port to Middleton Beach is home to a life-sized statue erected in 2002 of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Commander in Chief of the Turkish forces at Gallipoli, and subsequently President of Turkey from 1923 – 1938.
To learn more visit www.anzacalbany.com.au or watch the Anzac Albany highlights from 2014 below.