The first Dawn Service in Albany was held in 1918 at the altar of St John’s Anglican Church by chaplain Padre Arthur Ernest White, who also led the climb to the summit of Mount Clarence. From this summit, the people of Albany had gathered to watch the Anzac ships gather in 1914 before their fateful departure.
This solemn and meaningful practice in commemoration continued annually in Albany. In 1985, the channel leading into Princess Royal Harbour was named Ataturk Channel after Turkey’s first president Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, whilst the Turkish Government named the landing beach at Gallipoli Anzac Cove. In 2002, a statue of Ataturk was erected overlooking the channel.
On the Anzac Centenary, moving Centenary Commemorations were held in the town between October 30 and November 2, 2014. It was attended by 40,000 people, including the Governor General and the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand.
Also held during the 2014 ANZAC Centenary was the opening of the National Anzac Centre, located within Albany’s heritage listed Princess Royal Fortress, and which overlooks the harbour from which the Anzacs departed for war. This is an important cultural site for those who want to know more about the ANZAC legend, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the experience through interactive multimedia displays and historic artefacts. The construction of the award winning museum was funded by the Federal and Western Australian Governments, though ongoing funding for upkeep and operation come only from entry fee revenue.
ANZAC commemorations in Albany typically begin with a Dawn Service at Mt Clarence, followed by a Gunfire Breakfast at the Albany Entertainment Centre Forecourt. The ANZAC Day Troop March is held in York St, followed by a Commemorative Service at the Anzac Peace Park and the Nine Pound Gun Firing and Salute at the Princess Royal Fortress in the afternoon. Visitors should also see the Albany War Memorial, dedicated to the town’s fallen soldiers.
Another war memorial with an interesting history is the Desert Mounted Corps War Memorial on Mt Clarence. Originally located at Port Said, Egypt in 1932, the place where Australian soldiers who had left from Albany landed when they reached Africa before heading for Gallipoli.
In 1956 during the Suez crisis the memorial was damaged and desecrated. Three years later it was shipped back to Australia. Unfortunately it could not be repaired and so a sculptor was commissioned to remodel the 9 metre tall statue which depicted an Australian soldier helping a New Zealander. Two models were made. One is in Canberra and the other was unveiled at Albany by Prime Minister Menzies in 1964.
Learn more about Albany and visit the ANZAC memorial landmarks with Odyssey Traveller on our Wildflowers Tour of Western Australia this spring. Our guided tour of the wildflower trail focuses on the Australia’s south west region, particularly the wheatbelt which is home to species unique to the region. Our tour in the south west joins the ‘wildflower way’, joining at Mullewa and making stops at 15 spots on the way to Wubin. After this, our wildflower tour heads west into the outback, stopping at the Avon Valley centre of Merriden, and the ‘wild west’ town of Kalgoorlie, before heading to the wildflower hotspot of the south west. Our tour of Albany and ANZAC memorials will provide us greater insight about this important moment in history.
Odyssey Traveller conducts educational tours focused on history, culture, and architecture, and has been serving global travellers since 1983. Our tour costs are inclusive of all entrances, tipping, and majority of meals.
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