Shipwreck Databases Western Australian Museum

Memories of Maritime Albany

Author/s G de L. Marshall

Year of publication 1991

Report Number: 53

The period of activity is roughly from the end of the P & 0 (peninsular and Orient Lines) period in1881 to just before the Second World War, by which time Albany had declined as a port and the Armstrong & Waters and Douglas companies had ceased to operate.

Les Douglas (b. 1909) lived through what were effectively the last years of Albany's life as a port. The Albany he describes was a far more remote and isolated place (as was Perth) than is readily easy to understand with today's communications, and was one in which people were prepared to work long hours for low wages, as indeed there was no alternative, and where traditional values held sway.

In compiling this record I have gained considerable respect for the early pioneers of the south-west coast, who navigated a very rough, remote and inhospitable coastline in very small and frail craft. Some idea. of their voyages can be gained from the accounts given in the Appendix.

I am aware that many vessels and people who may have been significant to Albany must have been omitted, but this does not pretend to be a complete account.

Gazing over the empty expanse of Albany Harbour it is hard to believe that it was a once-busy pon, and of the many vessels mentioned herein only one or two of the very small ones survive. The Albany foreshore is changed, and not for the better, while the jetty at which so many stout sea wagons once tied up is now virtually empty. The past will not return, but memories of Albany's sea faring times survive and r hope that this .compilation will contribute to that.