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Painting by Lieut. Robert Dale, 1833

Major Edmund Lockyer of the 57th Regiment claimed Western Australia for the British Crown on 21 January 1827, his 43rd birthday, at King George Sound/Frederick Town/Frederickstown - later Albany - having arrived on board the brig Amity. It was an important part of his orders from Governor Ralph Darling in New South Wales to secure the western portion of the continent for colon isation before the French could do so. The soldiers on board the Amity were Captain Joseph Wakefield of the 39th Regiment and nineteen of his troops. They anchored in Princess Royal Harbour at daybreak on 26 December 1826. (The Princess Royal in 1826 was Princess Charlotte, daughter of George III, for whom King George's Sound was named.)

The Albany settlement 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. To that end, on 21 January 1827, the commander of the outpost, Major Edmund Lockyer, formally took possession of the western third of the continent for the British Crown. During the last decade of the 19th century the town served as a gateway to the Eastern Goldfields. 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.

Albany Gaol

A team of staff and students from Fremantle's Notre Dame University believe they have uncovered the underground remains of an 187-year-old gaol at a historic site in Albany.
Led by Archaeology and History Senior Lecturer Shane Burke, a group of 14 students recently spent three days in Albany exploring the early European settlement area of Lawley Park with ground-penetrating radar.
They believe they found the structural remains of the 1836 town gaol about 0.8m below ground. Records show the brick gaol measured 5.6m by 11.6m in 1852, and was probably demolished in the 1870s.
Dr Burke said Lawley Park – now a recreational area that provides breathtaking views over Princess Royal Harbour – was a fascinating site that had many different uses over thousands of years.
He said the fieldwork revealed that physical evidence of Albany’s history and prehistory that was yet to be discovered still existed.
“Lawley Park has had much heritage significance, having been used by the British as a store, commissariat and gaol in the 1830s,” he said.
The students who took part in the fieldwork are studying archaeology and history majors at Notre Dame in Fremantle. They were joined by PhD candidate and tutor Lauren Tomlinson, as well as Dr Burke.
Dr Burke and students found the remains of what is believed to be WA’s oldest colonial building – a 190- year-old commandant’s quarters – about 1.2m underground at a park on Parade Street in Albany in March 2019.

People: Edmund Lockyer, George Cheyne, John Wellstead, ...

Places: Norman House, Strawberry Hill Farm.

References and Links

Acott, Kent 2019, 'Albany: archaeological find of Collet Barker’s quarters could rewrite WA history books', The West Australian, Tuesday, 19 March.

Dowson, John 2008, Old Albany: Photographs 1850-1950, National Trust of WA Inc.

Garden, Donald S. 1977, Albany: a Panorama of the Sound from 1827, Nelson, Melbourne.

Hussey, Toby 2021, 'Newly found 200-year-old documents detail life in Western Australia's first European settlement', ABC News online, 7 April.

Mulvaney, John & Neville Green, 1992, Commandant of Solitude: The Journals of Captain Collet Barker 1828-1831, MUP.

Stephens, Robert 1936, 'Major Edmund Lockyer'Early Days, Vol. 2, Part 19: 1-9.

Stephens, Robert 1943, 'History of the origin of the town of Albany and its street names'Early Days, Vol. 3, Part 5: 43-45.

Stephens, Robert 1945, 'The first growth of potatoes in Western Australia'Early Days, Vol. 3, Part 7: 17-18.

Stephens, Robert 1958, 'Builders of Albany: Alexander Moir, merchant and pastoralist'Early Days, Volume 5, Part 4: 38-51.

Stephens, Robert 1961, 'Nakina, Mokare, Waiter: three black brothers of the King George’s Sound tribe of Aborigines'Early Days, Volume 5, Part 7: 65-82.

Stephens, Robert 1962, 'Possessory lien—the first European settlement, King George’s Sound, New Holland (1826-1831)'Early Days, vol. 6, part 1: 23-59.

Stephens, Robert 1963, 'Thomas Brooker Sherratt: Albany merchant, bay-whaler, ship-owner and self-appointed builder and lay reader of Albany's Octagon Church'Early Days, vol. 6, part 2: 49-67.

Stephens, Robert 1967, 'John Wellstead the elder, pioneer settler at Bremer Bay', Early Days, vol. 6, part 6: 21-32.

Sweetman, John 1989, Military Establishment and Penal Settlement at King George Sound, 1826-1831, Hesperian Press.

Diane Oldman's Redcoat Settlers page for Albany.

Albany Historical Society.

Page for John Wellstead.

Page for George Cheyne.

Culture WA: A Tour through time: Albany (includes links to maps in SRO).

Garry Gillard | New: 27 October, 2020 | Now: 6 January, 2024