ANZAC Sites and History

ANZAC Connection

Why Albany? In 1914, Australian and New Zealand troops gathered in Albany before leaving for Egypt and then Gallipoli, where they landed on 25 April 1915. Albany was chosen as a rendezvous as it was an important coaling and watering port. It also could safely shelter the 38 troopships and three escorting warships and offered the ANZACS the chance to head off in convoy together. Many soldiers' last glimpse of Australia was at the start of that voyage as the hills of Albany faded into the distance. Their service to their country was recognised on 25 April 1923 in Albany at the nation's first Anzac Day dawn service, the start of a tradition that is becoming dear to the hearts of all Australians.

Desert Mounted Corps Memorial

This amazing horse statue can be found at the end of Apex Drive in Albany. The statue was originally at the Suez Canal but was badly damaged in WWI. It was later rebuilt and then brought to Albany and remounted close to the top of Mount Clarence in honour of the Light Horse Men who fought in Gallipoli. It is here that Albany remembers the ANZACS every 25 April with a dawn service.

Steps will take you from the carpark to the best views you will get in town (there is also parking up the top for ACROD parking).

The Padre White Lookout

Padre White had served in the Western Front until his health issues sent him back to Albany. His role had been to bless the soldiers just before they went into the trenches and perform the last rites to those who had been killed. This site was developed for the Centenary anniversary of the ANZACS leaving Albany and can be located just 100m up from the Desert Mounted Corps Memorial. It is also reported to be the location of the first Dawn Service in Australia, being held by Padre White on 25 April 1930. He remembered and acknowledged the soldiers who had fought and died in the First World War, choosing the spot that would possibly have been the last view of Australia for the soldiers. 

National ANZAC Centre

The National ANZAC Centre, located on Mount Adelaide, was opened on 1 November 2014. It is a state-of-the-art, award-winning facility built to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the departure of the ANZACS from Albany. Through its use of multimedia, interactive technology, and historical artefacts, one can develop a deeply personal connection with the past and pay tribute to those who served.

At the Centre, visitors assume one of the 32 actual servicemen or women involved in the First World War. As one uses the interactive visual and audio displays throughout the building, one learns more and more about a particular person. By the time one finishes, one knows whether their person survives the war and what they become.

Find out more information about the National ANZAC Centre here.

Princess Royal Fortress

The Princess Royal Fortress is one of Australia's best outdoor military museums and site of the National ANZAC Centre. Located in the Albany Heritage Park, which includes both Mount Clarence and Mount Adelaide, the fort encompasses the entire summit of Mt Adelaide. It is where you will find gun emplacements, underground magazine storage, a variety of exhibitions in the old barracks, and a wonderful array of memorabilia to purchase in the Forts Store, which was the old Mess Hut. Although its purpose was to protect Albany and stop anyone coming into the Princess Royal Harbour, never a shot was fired from here in anger. Walk up to the Convoy Lookout and enjoy the spectacular vies of Mammang-Koort/ King Gorge Sound, where you can try and envisage the scene that it would have made with 36 ships out in the Sound waiting to depart in convoy. From this high point, the female recruits would use semaphore flags and communicate some of the last messages sent between soldiers and their families.

ANZAC Peace ParkPeace Park

The ANZAC Peace Park is located on the foreshore of the Princess Royal Harbour at the bottom of York Street. Its features include a Pier of Remembrance, Memorial Wall (or Whispering Wall), interpretive signs, and plantings of seedlings generated from the seeds of the Aleppo pines located at Lone Pine in Gallipoli. 

In 2014, the ANZAC Peace Park in Albany was the centrepiece of the 100-year  commemoration of the 1914 departure of Australian and New Zealand troops for the Gallipoli campaign. In 2015, Australia observed the centenary of Anzac Day, and Albany was the focus of national attention as the point of departure of the Anzac convoy. As the location of the first recognised dawn service commemorating the 25 April 1915 landing at Gallipoli.

St John's Church

St John's church is the oldest consecrated church in Western Australia. It is located on Lower York Street, Albany. When first built, it could accommodate the whole town population - 170, so long as everyone brought their chairs!

Inside, you can find a shrine to Padre White. He had spent two years performing the last rites for his slain countrymen on the Western Front. He would also give Holy Communion on a small fold-out altar to the men before going "over the top" and into the trenches. You can see a shrine to the Padre in the church, including his original robes and small wooden altar. 

To honour the Australian's who gave their lives in France, he held a service at St John's Church at 6 am on ANZAC Day 1930. He then walked his congregation up to Mt Clarence, where he had the first dawn service in Australia.

Recollections of War Museum

Just half an hour from Albany along the South Coast Highway, you will find the Shapland Collection. This is a private collection of wartime memorabilia from the Boer War to the present day. It includes thousands of artefacts, including medals, equipment, uniforms, items made by troops for their entertainment, personal diaries, letters and unique wartime photo albums. One of the special focuses is the role played by women. Items connected with the Red Cross and the Women's Land Army form some main displays and research archives. Find out more here.