Frenchman Bay, Frenchman Bay Road
The bay takes its name from a visit to King George Sound by one of two French explorers – either Nicholas Baudin in 1808 or Jules Dumont d'Urville in 1826. Sailors from one of the expeditions went on land to collect fresh water from a spring near the bay.
George Vancouver charted this spring when he visited the area onboard the ship Discovery in September 1791 and named it after himself. The spring is located a few hundred metres from the present day car park. If you're up for a challenge, you'll find an Australian penny hidden at the precise location indicated by the coordinates - S 35° 05.571 E 117° 56.777. Please do not remove the penny, but leave it for others to enjoy finding it.
Itinerant sealers who plied their trade in King George Sound at the beginning of the 19th century referred to the stretch of water as Frenchman Bay when they came into contact with Major Edmund Lockyer's party at the beginning of 1827. When Commander Arch-Deacon surveyed the area in 1877 he discovered the name Frenchman Bay was in common use but not officially recorded, so he added it to all official charts.
In May 1915, a shark measuring more than 26ft was caught in the vicinity of the whaling station – its jaws measured 3ft across.
Frenchman Bay has long been a popular Albany tourist spot as this letter published in the Albany Advertiser on Thursday, February 21, 1935 testifies.
As the summer progresses, it is becoming more and more evident that the Albany Tourist Association did a great work when it responded to the inspiration of Mr H. G. Bourne in collecting funds to enable the Road Board to open the road which now gives access to Frenchman Bay.
Albany owes a considerable debt to Mr Bourne, the Association and the Road Board for making this delightful resort available to the majority of our visitors, as well as to local residents.
The large numbers of visitors to the Bay during the summer have given proof that this added attraction among Albany's already numerous beauty spots is greatly appreciated. As always happens, however, the opening up of the resort to large numbers of people has brought new problems of sanitation, etc which cannot be overlooked.
At present there are no sanitary conveniences at the Bay, with the result that visitors have to resort to the bush, thus creating' a nuisance which is likely to become serious if something is not done fairly soon.
It is perhaps unfair to ask the Road Board to accept the responsibility of providing conveniences, and it has occurred to us that in view of the value of the Bay to Albany, the Albany Tourist Association might find it possible to secure the material and arrange a working bee to carry out the work. We have little doubt that Mr Sibbald, as Secretary of the Road Board, the body responsible for health matters in the area, would willingly design suitable conveniences.
At the same time a number of other minor but necessary works could be carried out to increase the attractions of the Bay. We feel sure that if the working bee was arranged in the form of a picnic, there would be no lack of volunteers to do the work.
Those who are possessed of the "seeing eye" cannot see Frenchman's Bay and its environs without envisioning the wonderful future of such a beauty spot. It must stand among Albany's greatest assets, and we should take care to protect our assets to our utmost ability.