National Anzac Centre Albany

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When visiting Albany, Western Australia one place worth visiting is the National Anzac Centre.

The National Anzac Centre is perched on a hill overlooking King George Sound, which is the entrance to Albany’s two harbours.

Opened in 2014, the National Anzac Centre was built to commemorate the centenary of the departure of the ships which gathered in Albany to form the fleet of Australian and New Zealand troop ships which were headed to the Middle East to support Great Britain in World War I.

The centre’s location is stunningly gorgeous, and does occupy the remains of what was once a military barracks.

Many of the historic buildings themselves have been preserved, but the main museum is housed in a new building that has stunning views of King George Sound.

When you enter the museum you are given a card on which is a photo and a name.  The card contains the details of one of a person who was part of that original fleet.

As you progress through the museum, you use your card to unlock details of the person you are following so as to follow their progress throughout the war and, sometimes beyond.  This gives you a very intimate sense of what the war was like.

Some of those personnel lost their lives early in the war, usually at Gallipoli, which was part of the disastrous allied Dardanelles campaign.  Others survived Gallipoli to go and fight on the Western Front towards the end of the war where the carnage was truly horrific.

As you wander into some of the rooms you are confronted by large picture windows through which the peaceful, yet magnificent, views are in stark contradiction to the horror which confronts you in the displays.

The National Anzac Centre also features a grand promenade which leads to a spectacular lookout, from which you can view Middleton beach and Oyster Harbour as far as the Stirling Ranges beyond.

As you walk towards the lookout you pass reminders of every ship that was involved in the two fleets which departed from Albany.

Near the lookout you can enter a former large gun emplacement, which was originally erected to help defend Albany from attack; although it was never in danger.

If you visit between May and October each year, there is also the possibility that you will see whales frolicking in King George Sound, and that is definitely an added bonus.

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