Eastern Goldfields (Misc)……. p.4
Situated in the Great Southern region of Western Australia, , some 420 kilometres south of Perth, Albany was founded in 1826 as a military outpost of the colony of New South Wales, thereby predating Perth and Fremantle by some two years. Initially named Frederick Town (after Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany), it was renamed in 1832 when the settlement came under the control of the Swan River Colony (now known as the state of Western Australia). Prior to European settlement the area had been home to the Menang Noongar people who called it Kinjarling, meaning “the place of rain.”
As the colony’s only deep-water port until the opening of Fremantle Harbour in 1897, Albany was utilised by the numerous shipping services operating between England and Australia’s eastern seaboard (and was subsequently the first port of call for mail from England). It also served as a gateway to the Eastern Goldfields during the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. While the rail line to Perth (completed in 1885) led to an expansion in the town’s population – from 1,200 in 1888 to almost 3,000 in 1891 – Albany still remained a place of transit for many decades to come. After Fremantle harbour opened the shipping business at Albany declined and by 1905 the town’s residents numbered less than 2,000. It nevertheless remained a popular destination for travelling entertainments throughout the minstrel and vaudeville era.
ALBANY TOWN HALL
Despite its isolation, Albany was a port on the coastal steamer route thereby allowing theatrical companies a chance to break their journey on the way to or from Perth. The Albany Town Hall opened on 1 June 1888 becoming the principal venue for concerts and theatricals, including minstrel troupes through until the early 1900s. From 1897 it was also used by film exhibitors, with illusionist Carl Hertz presenting the first films in Albany in 14 August that year.
Image source: a777thunder at Flickr.
(1896-1910) Stirling Terrace.
Built by Edward Reynolds, the Cremorne Gardens was situated behind the Royal George Hotel in upper Stirling Terrace and opened by minstrel comedian and lessee W.B. “Billy” Warner on 28 November. Initially conceived as a summer-only venue, it was given a roof the following year which allowed allow the season to extend beyond December and February. In January 1906 the Gardens were re-opened after a long break, and up until 1910 was used by travelling film exhibitors as well as theatrical companies. It was disused as a venue after being damaged by fire.