As the oldest settlement in Western Australia Albany has a rich Aboriginal and European history.
Albany and its surrounds was home to the Menang Noongar people, the area was called Kinjarling which means "the place of rain". Archaeological excavations have found evidence of sites dating back over 18,000 years.
The first recorded sighting of the King George sound was in 1627. The following year the first map the south coast was produced which shows a bay and islands that is possibly King George sound. It was another 164 years before Commander George Vancouver on board Discovery sailed into the sound and named it for King George III.
In 1826 Major Edmund Lockyer arrived abroad the Brig Amity to establish the first settlement in Western Australia. On the 27th of January 1827 a ceremony was held celebrating the founding of the settlement.
In 1832 the Governor of the Swan River Colony, Sir James Stirling visited the settlement. With the possibility of moving the Western Australian Capital to King George Sound he renamed the town Albany after the Duke of York and Albany.
Albany became an important port for ships travelling from Europe to the Eastern States and for people travelling to the West Australian gold rush. By 1898 500 passengers a week were disembarking in Albany form the Eastern States.
Due to the King George Sounds strategic importance and the threat of War between Russian and Britain in the mid 1880s an agreement was reached in 1889-1890 to build a defensive position in Albany. The position was completed by 1892.
Due to the poor opportunities for farming and lack of minerals for mining the whaling industry was born. whaling continued in Albany until 1978.
Albany is well know for being the departure point of two troop convoys bound for the first world war, the first on 1 December 1914 and the second in late December 1914.
Albany is reputed to be the home of the very first dawn service. At 6am on 25th April 1930, it is recorded in the church service register that Padre White celebrated a dawn Eucharist commemorating ANZAC Day. After wreaths were laid at the nearby war memorial it is believed that Padre White, with some of the congregation, proceeded up a bush track to the top of Mt Clarence where an observance took place of a boatman laying a wreath in King George’s Sound.
Albany is now the home of the National ANZAC centre, opened on the 1 November 2014 the centre honours the ANZACs of the First World War.