Albany /ˈælbəni/ (Nyungar: Kinjarling) is a port city in the Great Southern region in the Australian state of Western Australia, 418 kilometres (260 mi) southeast of Perth, the state capital. 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. While it is the oldest colonial, although not European,[a] settlement in the territory that today is Western Australia,[b] predating Perth and Fremantle by over two years, it was a semi-exclave of New South Wales for over four years until it was made part of the Swan River Colony.
The settlement was founded on 26 December 1826 as a military outpost of New South Wales for the purpose of forestalling French ambitions in the region.: 61 To that end, on 21 January 1827, the commander of the outpost, Major Edmund Lockyer, formally took possession for the British Crown of the portion of New Holland not yet claimed by the British Crown;[c] that is, the portion west of 129th meridian east, with the portion east already being claimed collectively by the British Crown as New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land. 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,: 51–55 however, saw its importance as a port decline, after which the town's industries turned primarily to agriculture, timber and later, whaling.