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king george sound albany

King George Sound in Albany

George Vancouver the Discovery and HMS Chatham arrive on the 27th of September 1791 naming the Harbour


discovery albany

King George Sound in Albany Western Australia

The hub of Albany, King George the Third’s Sound was once the name of what today is called Albany, it was referred to as “The Settlement at the Sound”, before becoming Fredericktown and then Albany.

A brief European History.

The first naming of the Sound came in or on the 27th of September 1891 when George Vancouver sailed in and moored his ships, the HMS Chatham and Discovery between the Islands just of the coast on the seaward side of the Sound. One of the Islands sheltered his ship, so he named it Breaksea, as it did! Next day was Michaelmas day so the other Island became Michaelmas, then in a long boat which was rowed by 10 or 12 barefooted sailors he crossed the Sound. There was one other person in the boat who would swing the lead, a rope with a knot every six feet and a piece of lead at the end was swung round and hurled out in front of the boat as they did not want to stop rowing and as it hit the bottom he could tell the depth by the number of knots that were below the surface of the water. This was the easiest job on the boat and today swinging the lead is said to mean avoiding work. At this stage he realised just how good the Harbour was and named it after his King and by including the name Sound showed it to be a sound place for Ships, as it had been sounded, today we use a depth sounder.Hence its origional name was King George the Third’s Sound

george vancouver in albany

Aboriginal Dreamtime and King George Sound.

Aboriginal people tell their past in what we call Dreamtime stories and the Dreamtime of King George Sound is that the three Noongar tribes of the area, White Cockatoo Meananger and one whose name is lost to history as no wrote it down, their dreamtime is that the water was one big Harbour not three as today.


Old Aboriginal photo

Old Aboriginan photo at first he was reluctant to pose but did after much persuasion!

enterance oyster harbour king george sound

Aboriginal peopl meet White explorers at the Emu Point channel which joins Oyster Harbour and King George Sound. Good hey Rodney

Aboriginal meet French people

French Ship Astrolabe visited the Sound in 1826 "When one dressed in French clothes the others delight knew no bounds"

So the people argued about which tribe had the right to the Sea area. The dreamtime giant Lizards wanted to stop the fighting so they laid down in the water dividing it into three sections, one for each tribe. Today we call them Oyster Harbour, King George Sound and Princess Royal Harbour, all named by George Vancouver. However Mount Martin on the North West side is in Noongar is called Carterup or place of the Big Lizard.

The War Years.

In the First World War King George Sound was where 24 Australian Ships 14 New Zealand Ships, mainly Troop and horse carriers left to go to Gallipoli, Mount Clarence Forts looked down at the departing ships and the legend of the Dawn service was born by Paster White.

Painting War time King George Sound
Shios leave for Galliopoli
This is why every Australian has heard, “Lest we forget” and if I finished this sentence right here and now how many of the people who read this would think I had left out or missed something? Always remember History is written by the Winner!  However to keep the records straight I will rewrite the first sentence correctly. In the First World War King George Sound was where 24 Australian Ships 14 New Zealand Ships, mainly Troop and horse carriers left to go to Gallipoli they were escorted by 6 Japanese Battle Ships to help ensure safe passage. I hope in the forthcoming 2014 Anzac commemorations we remember and learn. “Lest we forget.”
The HMAS Perth II

Ship Wrecks.

The HMAS Perth II Destroyer was sunk in in the Sound on the 24th of November at eight o clock in the morning about a km off shore from Whale World and is a World renowned dive wreck which attracts many divers each year. She is 133 metres long and 15 metres wide and weighed 4920 tonnes. She was built in in the USA in 1962 and had a crew of 335. As the years have gone by fish have made it their home and coral like Crustations grow on her giving what was once a proud old vessel a new lease of life and beauty.

coral on the perth

Fishing in the Sound.

There is a good selection of fish to be caught in the Sound both from the beaches rocks and Jetty (see beaches above) to going out in a boat or further afield on a fishing charter. The main commercial fishing industry in Albany is also in the Sound where each year thousands of tons of Mullies a local name for Sardines or Pilchards are caught. These are used mainly for bait and are famous throughout Australia.  A good idea is to visit the boat pens at Emu Point where you can watch the fishing boats come in or see the Kalgan Queen a great sheltered water boat cruise to go on and learn all about Albany.

Sardine boat in King George Sound

Sardine or Mullie boat moored at Emu Point Boat Pens

King George Sound today.

Today the Sound is host to many ships and boats, from the grain ships which export the grain mainly to the Middle East or the Japanese ships who take wood chip and silica sand back to Japan.

looking across to albany

Looking across the Sound and Goode Beach to Albany

michaelmas breaksea island in the sound

Breaksea and Michaelmas Islands

When you look down on the wharfs from the hill you will see two piles of gold the smaller one being the silica and the Hugh hill with the bulldozers on it wood chip which is used in Japan to make paper. Passenger liners from around the World also call on a regular basis into Albany. During the Whale season, July till September you can watch from the lookouts on Marine Drive and see mainly Southern Right’s, Humpbacks and sometimes Blue Whales having a Whale of a time as they breach a short distance in front of you. On the South West side in Torndirrup National Park you find Whale World once the base of the last Whaling Station in Australia, which closed in November 1978 and now a great place to visit with over 25 different exhibits. Take a tour or cruise to learn and see all about Albany plus they are great fun. Tour and Cruise buttons at top of page.