Point King lighthouse, accessible from the Boardwalk, below Marine Drive.

 PAM2623 copyPoint King lighthouse, located on the north shore entrance to Princess Royal Harbour, was the first navigational light for the port of Albany and the second lighthouse built on Western Australia’s coastline. 

The lighthouse originally comprised of a keeper’s house which sat 47ft above the high water mark and an integral 17ft square wooden tower with a with an oil-fired light which required trimming daily and was visible from 12 miles. It was first used at sunset on January 1, 1858 and was made redundant in June 1911 following completion of a separate steel tower. Its history can be traced back to October 1856.

The Crimean War had just ended and British authorities had entered into a contract with the P & O Steam Navigation Company for a direct Royal Mail packet service from England to Australia, with Albany being the first port of call. For this service to be successful, lighthouses needed to be constructed so the lucrative mail-boats could arrive and depart from Princess Royal Harbour safely. 

In May 1857, WA Governor Kennedy directed Captain Wray of the Royal Engineers in Fremantle, to travel to Albany and commence work on the construction of two lighthouses – one on nearby Breaksea Island the other at Point King.

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Oyster Harbour Fish Traps, Lower Kalgan – approximately 14km from Albany CBD

The National Trust has managed the Oyster Harbour Fish Traps since 1966 after they were threatened by development. It is thought the traps were once part of a Noongar camp site where people had gathered for at least 7,500 years.  

The fish traps are designed in the shape of a crescent and only visible at low tide. They were first recorded by English explorer Captain George Vancouver in 1791. They consist of eight weirs made from thousands of stones. The traps caught huge numbers of fish as the Kalgan River rose and fell.  

Excavation of a 1m section in 2000, revealed more than 80 stones were used in this segment alone – the traps roughly cover an area of around 800sqm. Early European visitors to the Kalgan River also recorded Aboriginal huts, wells, fires and kangaroo traps, suggesting that at certain times of the year, the river and the Oyster Harbour foreshore were substantial hunting and fishing grounds.

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Albany's Early Years: 1837 - 1846

1837: The improvement in the condition of the settlement brought about by the activity of Government Resident Sir Richard Spencer was maintained.
  • Albany town sites were sold at a minimum of £5 per acre and suburban lots at £2 per acre.
  • Early in the year, medical officer Dr Thomas Harrison paid a visit to the Hay River, accompanied by Patrick Taylor.
  • Wool shorn on Sir Richard Spencer's Hay River property realised £1/8/- per lb on the place.
  • During February James Harris and party journeyed overland from Albany to Perth in 12 days. Harris’ diary records the places they passed through as Chorkurup, Thokokup, Mt Barker, Lake Matilda, Kojonup, Williams River and Arthur River. The party consisted of Alfred Hillman, Lieutenant Armstrong, eight privates of the 21st Fusiliers, Patrick Taylor, Dr Thomas Harrison and an Aboriginal guide known as Katrel or "Handsome".
  • On March 9, John Mason was appointed constable and keeper of the jail to assist James Dunn.
  • By a proclamation issued on March 25, the first quarter sessions were appointed to be held in Albany on May 1, the court party comprising WH Mackie, commissioner of the Civil Court, AH Stone, registrar and L. Welsh, bailiff. The most important case before the court was Thomas Brooker Sherratt v George Cheyne, the witnesses being Lawrence Morley, Alfred Hillman, John McKail, William Thomas, John Sinclair and Janet Macleod.
  • During April, Albany went red, due to the distribution of crimson flannel dresses to Aboriginal women which had been sent out by the Duchess of Kent.
  • During May, Sir Richard Spencer wrote to the Bishop of Australia, stating that Albany now comprised some 45 houses and a population of 180 and soliciting his lordship's assistance, together with that of certain English societies, for funds to erect a church and provide a resident minister.
  • Two whaling establishments were formed on Doubtful Island Bay, one owned by George Cheyne, the other by Thomas Booker Sherratt.
  • The governor in his report for the year ending 30th June, recommended the provision of a military establishment, consisting of a captain, four subalterns and 50 rank and file for Albany and its subordinate stations, comprising the Kalgan, Nornalup Inlet and Doubtful Island Bay.
  • The firm of Gordon and Sinclair, carpenters, tendered for certain public works in the district.
  • Lieutenant Belches relinquished the position of harbour master and assumed command of the colonial schooner Champion.
  • Chief constable James Dunn was accidentally maimed for life whilst firing a salute in honour of Patrick Taylor's arrival with his bride.
  • During September, the colonial surgeon, Dr Crighton, arrived from the Swan River to attend Sir Richard Spencer who had been ill for some time.
  • Military posts were established at various points on the road between Albany and York.
  • In December, Henry Tulley secured the contract to clear a road to Middleton Bay and remove portions of six sand hills near Middleton Beach.
  • Messrs McKail and Dunn secured the contract to build Albany's town jetty, which was almost on the site of the old municipal baths.
  • The quantity of spirits upon which duty was paid was 948 gallons.
  • Exports for the year were whale oil £900, whalebone £180, sealskins £500.
  • On December 25, the Eudora anchored in Princess Royal Harbour. On board was the Rev James Backhouse of the Society of Friends (Quakers), who was nearing the end of a six year cruise conveying the gospel to the inhabitants of British colonies and settlements. He stayed in Albany for three days and left lamenting that such a small community could enjoy the luxury of four hotels and with commendation for nothing he had experienced during his visit except the salubrious climate. The four public houses he referred to were:

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