The Road Ahead : February March 2015
QUEENSLAND'S LARGEST CLUB 49 FEB/MAR 2015 THE ROAD AHEAD IMAGES: (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT) THE RUGGED COASTLINE OF ALBANY; DESERT MOUNTED CORPS MEMORIAL, MT CLARENCE; THE ALBANY WINDFARM. Albany's anzac tradition AS AUSTRALIANS AROUND THE NATION REMEMBER THE ANZACS ON APRIL 25, IN ALBANY WA THE DAWN SERVICE WILL HAVE SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE. STORY REBECCA SULLIVAN I PHOTOS THINKSTOCK HOW TO GET THERE: It's a comfortable 4.5 hour drive from Perth down the Albany Highway. Virgin Airlines also connects through Perth. RECOMMENDED: Hire a car or a bicycle to explore the region. Pack your wind and rain gear -- this is a rugged coastal location! QUIRKY FACT: Schedule a holiday snap moment at Dog Rock near the centre of town. This large boulder bears an uncanny resemblance to a Labrador's head,complete with dog's collar courtesy of the locals. In 1921, a referendum was held to save Dog Rock after the Council proposed to blow it up to widen the road. DEPARTURE NATIONAL | TRAVEL ON ANZAC DAY 1931, former Army Chaplain, Padre Arthur White, led a small pilgrimage to the top of Mt Clarence and then recited lines from poet Laurence Binyon, including the immortal, "As the sun riseth and goeth down, we will remember them". So began what is claimed to be the first organised Anzac dawn service: it was held in Albany, Western Australia. It is a fitting location for such a ceremony, given Albany was the embarkation point for the 30,000 Australian soldiers who headed off to the Gallipoli campaign in late 1914. In April this year, Albany will host the largest Australian-based remembrance ceremony of the 100-year anniversary of Gallipoli. Many of the events will be held at Mt Clarence and its sister, Mt Adelaide. At the peak of Mt Clarence, the magnificent Desert Mounted Corps Memorial has been painstakingly rebuilt and relocated after being badly damaged during the Suez Canal uprising in the 1950s. A lone pine tree, nurtured from pine cones bought back from the Gallipoli trenches by Australian troops, is another poignant symbol of the Anzac tradition. The road connecting the two peaks is memorable in itself, being lined with trees commemorating fallen soldiers. Mt Adelaide is home to the Princess Royal Fortress, an outstanding collection of military memorabilia, including details of Albany's role as a secret submarine base during World War II. Apart from the WWI and II connections, another fascinating episode in Albany's history was the whaling station at Frenchman's Bay. Now a museum located at the former home of the Cheynes Beach Whaling Company, you can even view the giant skeleton of the last whale caught there in November 1978. The museum has done a great job of recreating the bloody and gory business of whaling, as well as the rough life aboard a whaling ship. The whales have since returned in droves and during the winter migration season you're likely to spot Humpbacks and also the rarer Southern Right Whale from this point. While you're out at the Bay, the Albany Wind Farm is worth a side trip. An interpretative walkway has plenty of information on how energy is generated from the 12 giant wind turbines that dominate the skyline. Nature also puts on a pretty spectacular show at the coastal cliffs around Frenchman's Bay with blow holes, large rock formations and huge, crashing waves providing plenty of impressive scenery and a magnet for photographers. The other side of Albany is for beach lovers. A number of beaches are located near town but for a truly scenic spot, head to the more remote Two People's Bay. Little Beach is another popular place with its turquoise waters and endless stretches of white sand. En route to Little Beach, an unexpected delight comes in the form of the Albany Marron Farm. Along with the marron (crayfish), there's a wonderful menagerie of birds and animals. The rustic café will cook you some fresh marron for lunch and the more adventurous can tackle a Segway tour through the surrounding bushland. Albany offers much more: boutique wineries, bountiful fresh produce, fishing, cycling and river cruises. Allow at least five days for a visit. The Anzac celebrations in April are sure to be memorable but this is one spot to put on your must-see list in Western Australia at any time of year. RACQ CAN HELP: PLAN YOUR TRIP TO THIS REGION USING RACQ'S ONLINE TRIP PLANNER AT RACQ.COM.
April 1st 2015