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Albany ANZACs Travel & Tourism
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Albany Anzacs Albany Australia
Albany WA
Albany South West Western Australia
Albany ANZACs Albany Western Australia
Albany ANZACs Albany Western Australia

Albany ANZACs Albany Western Australia Australia


As dawn rose over Albany on1 November 1914, thirty-eight ships of the fleet sat at anchor in the waters of the Southern Ocean in King George Sound and Princess Royal Harbour, off Albany.

Thirty thousand troops and seven thousand five hundred horses had gathered from around the country and were aboard the fleet waiting to sail into history and to adventures on the other side of the world.


ANZACs Albany


In Albany, before the convoy embarked on the journey across the world, one of the padres assigned to the fleet, the Reverend Arthur White, Padre 44th Battalion 1st Australian Imperial Force, conducted a service for the men before the dawn broke. The town folk of Albany lined the shores and climbed to the peak of Mount Clarence, overlooking the sound to farewell the convoy of volunteers as it sailed away from Albany:

The convoy embarked from Albany in Australias South West, to Egypt and Turkey, and to the birth of the tradition of the ANZAC and the diggers and into the rite of passage that changed a young federation of colonies into a proud and respected nation. The nation Australia - the federation of six Australian colonies was fourteen years old when the Great War was declared the other side of the world.

Young city blades had queued alongside their country cousins and diggers from the goldfields, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, some posing for the photographers and all keen to join the adventure to help out over there. The boys from the bush brought their horses and after training at the campground of the Horse Brigade at Blackboy Hill, north of Perth, joined the convoy ready to sail.

Full of enthusiasm as they left Albany, the youth of Australia had no idea of the horrors that awaited them, of the horrors of a war that was to be on a scale never before imagined. How could a boy from the bush or the city have known of the unwinnable battle, which he and his mates would be put to in the Dardanelles on 25 April 1915? When the engagement in the Dardanelle Strait was finally over in December 1915, eight thousand seven hundred Australians had died and sixteen thousand three hundred others were injured. It was here that the ANZAC tradition was born. The Australian War Memorial in Canberra has evocative photos of some of the Aussies who volunteered in droves to help their mates in the old country to fight the Hun in Europe.

Later photographs and paintings by official Australian War Artists and exquisite dioramas of the battles at Yepres; Lone Pine; the extraordinary victory of the charge of the Light Horsemen on 31 October 1917 at Beersheba and multitudes of other battle sites bring home the glorious efforts and endurance of the troops.

The horrific prices paid by the young warriors; the loss of limb or sight; the loss of mates and the sheer constant noise is clearly seen on the changed expressions on the faces of the volunteers in these later photographs. How could a boy from the bush have imagined the freezing cold and the wet of the trenches; of being trapped by constant bombardment with dead and dying mates in the frozen mud with no food and little water and the constant silent threat of mustard gas?

Mount Clarence


Mount Clarence and the beautiful hillsides of Albany had become the last glimpse of Australia for so many of the passengers of the troopships.

ANZAC Day


In 1916, 25 April was officially named ANZAC Day. Marches were held throughout Australia and thousands of ANZAC troops paraded in London city in honour of the ANZACs who were dubbed othe knights of Gallipoli.

The padre of the 44th Battalion, Reverend White had suffered from mustard gas poisoning and he was wounded in the battlefields and was then repatriated to Albany. In 1918 the Reverend was given permission to hold a Requiem Mass in Albany for the Battle Dead. Some of the congregation joined Reverend White when he climbed the Albany hillside of Mount Clarence to remember and to say; oAlbany was the last sight of land these ANZAC troops had of Australia. We should commemorate them this way every ANZAC day.

ANZAC Day Dawn Service


History gives no firm date of the first ANZAC Day Dawn Service that was held in Albany to commemorate the Australian New Zealand Army Corps. Many reports give the 25 April 1923 as the date of the first service, but Albany historian, Joan Bartlett quotes 1930 as the more accurate date. On that date a wreath was floated out into the King George Sound and another wreath was laid at the memorial in Albany.

The parishioners climbed to the peak of Mount Clarence with the Reverend White, just as they had done in 1914 and the padre recorded the oFirst Dawn Service held in Australia in the Albany church register.

Notes


1 The original training and campground of the Horse Brigade at Blackboy Hill, north of Perth, is dedicated to the Horse Brigade, with a walk trail and information on the camp. 2 The Princess Royal Harbour, Albany is regarded as being one of the best harbours in the world, and one of the most beautiful. 3 Mount Clarence overlooks the Princes Royal Harbour and the King George Sound, Albany. 4 Originally erected in Port Said, the massive and splendid bronze of a rampant horse complete with ANZAC rider has been re-erected at the peak of Mount Clarence. This is the ANZAC Light Horse Memorial to the Galipolli Warriors. 5 The base of the statue bears bullet marks from the Suez crisis in which it was damaged and is the reason why the statue was relocated to stand majestically against the sunrise over the King George Sound. 6 The Australian War Memorial is located in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. 7 Fittingly, the window of the office of the Prime Minister of Australia is in direct and unbroken line with the War Memorial, in order that he contemplates the price paid by the ANZACs when he makes a decision of importance to Australia. 7 The spirit of the ANZAC Day Dawn Service that began lo long ago in Albany grows stronger each year, with generations of young Australians and new Australians increasingly taking part in daybreak services throughout Australia on 25 April.