Established in 1826, Albany was the first European settlement in Western Australia and quickly grew into a bustling commercial hub. During the 19th century, Albany played an important role as a centre of shipping between Britain and its Australian colonies, as it was long the only deep water port on the continent. It was through Albany that some 40,000 Anzac troops departed for Europe during World War I. The city went into decline when the port of Fremantle was opened and it became the centre for shipping of goods and mail for Western Australia. However, it appears to be a shopping centre for the region as it has far more stores than the local population would appear to be able to support and it is still major port for the shipment of grain and silica.
The Whaling Station here, which did not cease operations until 1978, has been converted to a museum on the history of the industry. It has the distinction of being the last operating station in both the Southern Hemisphere and the English-speaking world. Humpback, southern right and blue whales are now the subject of whale watching expeditions from June to October.
The Western Australian Museum – Albany overlooking Princess Royal Harbour hosts exhibitions and public programs on the natural and social history of the region. Refurbished in 2010, the museum includes various exhibits scattered around the museum’s grounds. The Residency was first constructed in 1850 and served as the home of the local administrator, who had the title of government resident, from 1873 to 1953. Today the building houses exhibits that focus on the histories of both the Aboriginal and Wadjella (or non-Aboriginal) populations of the area. There are also other small buildings such as the One Teacher School and some old cottages in the area and the (replica?) of the Brig Amity is also nearby. Several homes and cottages built in the 1830s are also of historic note.