We arrived in Albany after one night on the road and settled into a luxury Big 4 Caravan Park just ‘cos we can!
Our park is beside the ocean and has a beautiful walk along the beach and around the coast extending 35kms. If only we had brought our bikes this time we would be having a ball, however after not using them last year and having them covered in dirt we left them at home. Damn! Anyway we are walking a lot and enjoying that instead. The coastline here continues to amaze us and a feature in Albany seems to be the enormous boulders everywhere. Even houses are built around them and the gardens look beautiful with the huge boulders as a centrepiece in the landscaping.
We had a rainy day yesterday so only ventured out to the Sandalwood Factory which was very interesting. We decided to stay for an extra day and today the weather had improved so we ventured out to the historical whaling station which operated until 1978, and then along the coast to the Blow Hole, the Natural Bridge and the Gap, all very spectacular.
After lunch we walked down the main street and found a beautiful Anglican Church, St. John the Evangelist with a lovely parishioner to show us through. The church was constructed between 1841 and 1848. We are not given to visiting churches on our travels usually but this was exceptional .
Father Arthur Ernest White has been credited with holding the first ANZAC Day Dawn Service in Australia at Albany. Reverend White sailed with the 44th Battalion from Albany and for two years served as a padre to the troops in France.
Padre White returned from service in 1918 and was subsequently given the post of parish priest at the Anglican Church of St John the Evangelist in Albany. The dates given for the inaugural ANZAC Day Dawn Service vary, and 1918, 1923 and 1930 have all been suggested.
Father White is quoted to have stated that, 'Albany was the last sight of land these ANZAC troops saw after leaving Australian shores. Some of them never returned. We should hold a service here at the first light of dawn each ANZAC Day to commemorate them'.
We continued our walk down the hill and walked along the shore which has an ANZAC Walk. The walk details the history of the departure of the 30,000 troops, nurses and 7,500 horses who left from Albany for the First World War in 28 Australian and 10 New Zealand ships. Along the walks there are plaques detailing reminiscences of soldiers and also reports from the local newspaper and a lady who witnessed the departure. On the boardwalk over the water the railing details the approximate mooring and names of the many ships who departed in November 1914. It is an amazing memorial to these brave men and women and we were so pleased to have taken the time to read the plaques as we walked. We can only imagine what a wonderful place this would be for a dawn service on ANZAC Day.
We leave Albany on Saturday feeling we have really learnt some more Australian History which we found fascinating.