Albany is a port city in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, some 418 km SE of Perth, the state capital. As of 2009, Albany's population was estimated at 33,600, making it the sixth-largest city in the state.
The city centre is at the northern edge of Princess Royal Harbour, which is a part of King George Sound. The Central Business District is bounded by Mount Clarence to the east and Mount Melville to the west. The city is in the local government area of the City of Albany.
Albany was founded on 26 December 1826 as a military outpost of New South Wales as part of a plan to forestall French ambitions in the region. The area was initially named Frederickstown in honour of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany. In 1831, the settlement was transferred to the control of the Swan River Colony and renamed Albany by Governor James Stirling.
During the late 19th century the town served as a gateway to the Eastern Goldfields and, for many years, it was the colony's only deep-water port, having a place of eminence on shipping services between Britain and its Australian colonies. The opening of the Fremantle Inner Harbour in 1897, however, saw its importance as a port decline, after which the town's industries turned primarily to agriculture, timber and, later, whaling. Unlike Perth and Fremantle, Albany was a strong supporter of Federation in 1901.
Today the town is a place of significance as a tourist destination and base from which to explore the south-west of the state and is well regarded for its natural beauty and preservation of heritage. The town has an important role in the ANZAC legend, being the last port of call for troopships departing Australia in the First World War.
Albany is the oldest permanently settled town in Western Australia, predating Perth and Fremantle by some two years.