Albany is a friendly resort town located 410 km south of Perth on one of Australia's most beautiful stretches of coast in the south of Western Australia. It lies on the northern shore of Princess Royal Harbour - one of the world's best natural deep-water harbours. Cruise Ships dock at the port about 1.25 miles (2km) from the town centre. There are regular shuttle buses to the town's main shopping street and many of the sights are walkable from there.
Built soon after the first convicts arrived in 1852, Albany's oldest buildings include the Old Gaol, the Old Post Office (1870) and the Folk Museum. The Old Gaol was used as a convict depot and it has now been converted into a museum depicting the history of convict life in Australia while the Patrick Taylor Cottage Folk Museum is a wattle-and-daub cottage built in the 1830s. Nearby is a replica of the Brig Amity, which brought Albany's founders to the area in 1826. Outside the central area you can visit Princess Royal Fortress, Australia's first federal fortress, commissioned in 1893 as a military base and now serving as a museum. At the Mt. Clarence Lookout, you can visit the Desert Corps War Memorial and 360-degree views over Albany, King George Sound, Michaelmas, Breaksea Island, and Oyster Harbor at Emu Point.
In the area around Albany you can discover the rugged coastline of the Torndirrup National Park, home to The Gap and Natural Bridge, where the waves rush in and out with tremendous ferocity. A series of blowholes located nearby occasionally spray water as waves hit the rocky shore. You can also visit to the Whale World Museum, an original whaling station that has been converted into a museum which features many buildings and exhibits detailing the history of the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company, and the importance of whaling to the town's economy and colourful history.
The local Menang Noongar people were here for thousands of years and called the area Kinjarling, meaning Place of Rain. Albany itself (founded as the King George Sound settlement in 1826) was the first European settlement in Western Australia and one of the oldest settlements in the country. In the 19th century Albany was first a whaling base and then a coaling station for steam ships travelling to India and England from the ports on the eastern coast of Australia. Albany declined in the early 20th century as a result of competition from Fremantle to the north, but it is now the leading port in the south of the state.
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