Brig Amity, Albany Historical Precinct, off Princess Royal Drive

Brig Amity

The Brig Amity is a full size replica of the original brig that sailed into Frederickstown now known as Albany on Boxing Day 1826.

This replica was built in 1976 and sits a few hundred metres from the original place that Major Edmund Lockyer and his party arrived. It was built to coincide with the 150th Anniversary of this event.

The original Brig Amity was wrecked on an unchartered sand bank in Bass strait in 1845.

The Brig Amity is open to the public and while wandering on board spare a thought for the 50+ men, sheep, pigs and 6 month’s worth of stores that would have been crammed on board.

Guided tours are available.

Phone: (08) 9841 5403.

Open: 9.30am to 4pm daily.

Admission:
Adult ticket $5.00
Concession card holders $4.00
Family ticket $12.00 includes 2 adults and 2 children
Children $2.00
Groups 10+ people booking recommended.
Tour groups P.O.A

Closed: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday and New Year’s Day

The idea to build a full-size replica of the Amity came from resident Mavis Watterson and was taken up as a working project by the Town of Albany at a public meeting in December 1972. After two years research, it was decided a full-size replica could be built in time for festivities planned on Christmas Day, 1976. 

These celebrations would recognise the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the original boat on Christmas Day 1826. Construction began on the site where the replica now stands in 1975, with local boat builder Stan Austin acting as project supervisor and Pieter van de Brugge as leading shipwright. A recent $250,000 refit including new lifelike crew figures, a self-guiding audio system and sound effects has given the replica an extra lease of life.

The original brig Amity was built at St John, New Brunswick, Canada and launched in 1816. Its voyage to King George Sound (Albany) began on November 9, 1826, carrying a party under the command of Major Edmund Lockyer, who was ordered to form a settlement.
 
The brig reached Princess Royal Harbour on Christmas Day 1826. The 61 strong settlement party, which didn't land until Boxing Day, included the Amity’s own crew, 23 convicts - mostly tradesmen, 18 rank and file soldiers, a sergeant, a captain, a surgeon, a storekeeper and Lockyer, together with a naval party commanded by Lieutenant Colson Festing.
 
They had enough supplies and livestock to last six months. After being sold back into private ownership in 1831, the Amity spent a large proportion of its later working life in Hobart as a whaler, sealer, general carrier and stock transporter. The ship finally came to an end in June 1845, when it was wrecked on an uncharted sand bank on the Bass Strait.

Extracts from Major Edmund Lockyer’s diary, describing the Amity's arrival in King George Sound.

Monday, December 25, 1826: Fine breeze; at twelve o'clock noon made Bald Island, weather hazy; as we neared the island, which is pretty high, observed it was all rock without any soil; we next saw Cape Manypeak, Mount Gardner, the islands of the Sound and Bald Head; on Michaelmas Island as we passed, a great fire was made as if by persons requiring assistance; at half past five in the afternoon anchored in Princess Royal Harbour about a mile off the north shore; it is a complete basin about nine miles in circumference with a narrow entrance from the east side opening into the Sound, and forms a most secure place for ships; no natives seen on the shores or smoke to indicate their being near the harbour; being late did not land this evening but proposed to go on shore early in the morning.

Tuesday, December 26,1826: At daylight about four o'clock this morning went on shore with Lieutenant Festing. On landing, two natives met us with a little boy and came up without the slightest hesitation. The youngest of the two men whom we have since called Jack, from a supposition that he is the Jack of Captain King, whose native name is Mangril, he made signs to be allowed to go off to the vessel, which I assented to. The old man and boy going off in another direction from the one Lieutenant Festing and myself took.

We proceeded in our walk, found plenty of fresh water though very high coloured from its running thro' a peaty soil like bog. As it lays on a slope facing the anchorage, it might easily be drained and the water brought to as many reservoirs as might be required and the ground would become excellent for gardens and the site between the two hills forming nearly an amphitheatre would be an extremely eligible situation for a town, though most of the ground in the neighbourhood is a loose sandy soil with a mixture of vegetable mould.

With the exception of gardens it would not answer for any other purpose of farming or agriculture. On reaching the summit of the highest hill under which Captain Flinders had his tent, we had a most extensive view of the country around with the two harbours and the Sound. From Bald Head as far as the eye could reach to the westward, presents nothing but a continuation of a ridge of tolerably high hills of white sand and granite rocks, the sandy parts being lightly sprinkled with a coarse wiry grass and stunted honeysuckle.

In the hollows and ravines, the ground is peat or bog soil very black with decayed vegetable substance in it on the west side of the harbour, a slope, reaching from the shore to the top of the hills narrowing gradually to the top, is nothing but a sheet of white sand on which when the sun is out causes a great glare; on the south side of the harbour, there is wood fit for fire wood, but for no other purpose, nor is there any ground fit for cultivation or grazing on that side. From the hill we see the two lakes, which Captain Flinders visited when here and the country in that quarter presented the same sandy appearance.

At the back of the two hills, a large plain about four miles long and one and a half broad, which could be cultivated and cattle could graze on. A large fresh water lake about two miles long and a quarter broad is between the two harbours, with some sizable timber on the rising ground this side of it. Oyster Harbour with Green Island present a pleasing view from the hill, which at some future period, on a permanent establishment being fixed, would be the best place for a signal station, as it commands a sea view and both harbours.

About thirty miles directly north in land is a ridge of moderately elevated hills covered with timber to the very summit and from the darker foliage and verdure about these hills, I should presume the soil there is very different from what it is in the immediate neighbourhood of the sea shore. I shall therefore avail myself of the first leisure to examine that part. It being past eight o'clock, we descended the hill and returned on board ... after breakfast about ten o'clock, we again set out and proceeded along the shore towards the entrance of the harbour and crossed over the slope of the hill and descended to the lake, between which and the shore of the bay facing the sound the ground undulates in ridges of sand, on which is some grass, stunted sheoaks and honeysuckle.

The wood of the latter when burnt produces a very agreeable smell quite aromatic; had the ground been good between the lake and the shore, it would have been a good place for a settlement but decidedly it would not answer; whilst sitting down to rest at the head of the lake, a kangaroo of the largest sort came close to where I was sitting with Mr Nind, who fired at it and missed it though within ten yards; after walking nearly halfway to Oyster Harbour and not seeing any spot more favourable than the one we landed at, we directed our steps homewards to the Brig ... I was extremely anxious to ascertain what persons were on Michaelmas Island as a fire was still kept burning and at night a light on the west end facing the harbour. I had requested Lieutenant Festing would cause a boat to be sent there the first thing in the morning.

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