Location: York St, Albany
Distance: 1.4km loop
Trail Marker: No markers, unofficial trail
Duration: 1 - 2 hours
Cost: $0, free entry
Date Hiked: 18th January 2019
Kml Map File: Please click here.
Straight up I just want to point out that this is an unmarked, unofficial trail, but one I think would be a great asset to the Albany Trails Network. As the oldest settlement in Western Australia Albany has a rich Aboriginal and European history. You only have to walk down the main street to see this but this small street also has some amazing art works so I thought it would be nice to create a little trail for anyone interested.
You can technically start the trail from anywhere on York St but for the purpose of this blog I have started it outside the Albany Visitor Centre.
Right next door to the visitor centre is the Alison Hartman Gardens also referred to as Mokare Park. This is the first point of interest on this walk. The gardens are currently under construction (May19) and I am not 100% sure when they are due to be finished but from the planning pictures it looks like it's going to be an amazing little garden and I do believe the Mokare statue will remain in recognition of the role he played in the peaceful co-existence between Noongar people and the first European settlers.
Mokare was a Noongar Elder of the Menang people and at the time the Albany settlement was declared by the British in 1826, the land covering about 6000 square kilometres had belonged to his family. With natural curiosity on both sides in the early years of British settlement, there was some exchange and interaction between the Menang and the British and Mokare became known as the /Man of Peace', acting as a guide and interpreter for the newcomers, showing them traditional walking trails of the Menang and also assisting in their explorations.
Another highlight to the gardens is 'The Albany Peace Pole', an international symbol which stands for peaceful harmony. There are well over 200,000 Peace Poles in 180 countries around the world with the message on each pole - "May Peace Prevail on Earth". With the blessing of local Noongar Elders, the Mayor of Albany, Milton Evans, dedicated The Albany Peace Pole during the Harmony Week celebrations on 20th March 2011.
The highlights at the top of York St include:
'Hordern's Monument' which has significant heritage value. Crowning the intersection of four major thoroughfares into the centre of Albany's shopping precinct the monument is a fitting tribute to the memory of Anthony Hordern, who was the entrepreneur behind the WA Land Company, which, was the catalyst to the building of the Great Southern Railway.
The top of York St provides my favourite view of a street in Western Australia, looking downhill towards Princess Royal Drive and the Anzac Peace Park at the foot of the hill adjacent to Princess Royal Harbour.
Across the road is the first Art piece on this walk, painted by artist 'Hense'. For this untitled piece of art, Hense started out with a very loose and unpologetic painting approach, reacting progressively as he workd to the shape and architecture of the wall.
"The final piece has both a painterly quality and graphic edge with large elements that read from a distance" - HENSE
From here you need to start heading back down York St on the opposite side, till you reach the laneway between the Albany Hotel and Paperbarks.
I seem to have lost my photo of the Albany Hotel so will have to add it in later but this is quite a significant building. Formerly called the Freemason's Hotel, The Albany Hotel was one of the three hotels built in Albany in the 1890s and still remains intact playing an important role in the entertainment and food industry since its inception in the late 1800s. Love a good country pub.
The artwork on the Paperbark Building is also quite appealing.
The first is by artist Deborah Ceccaroni. Despite having her signature and website there is actually no information on the name of this piece so viewers are open to their own interpretation.
The second piece on this wall is by artist Chad Marwick and is titled "From Cheynes to Muttonbird', representing the coastline from Cheymes Beach to Muttonbird Island.
"I've spent so much of my life on these beaches and thought it fitting that I represent my home town's natural beauty with an abstract map of sorts and an abundance of vibrancy." - CHAD
On the other side of the laneway (The Albany Hotel building) is lots of individual art done as part of an Open Access Youth Art Studio Project for Youth Week 2008.
Continuing on down to the next lane way and you will find two large pieces.
'Metrical Geometrical' by artist Add Fuel reinterprets traditional Portugese glazed tile design, known as azulejo, creating layers of history over and beneath existing structures using stencils. The blue patterning he creates on walls and facades seems straightforward from a distance but up close it reveals a quirky, contemporary twist.
"The geometry of the stencil itself is an influence in the wall and vice versa, so the mural is actually integrated with the wall, the windows and the frames, creating this movement with the windows breaking the symmetry" - ADD FUEL
"The Beginning" by artist Karim Jabbari is a paste up of a photograph that he took in Tunisia. His lettering work uses different patterns, shapes, and colours, featuring compositins of classic Kufi and Maghrebi calligraphy.
"It's a light painting using fire to highlight the fact that Albany was the spark that ignited settlement in WA. The picture was pasted on the wall and blended with black on black calligraphy spelling AL BIDAYA - THE BEGINNING. The fire on the image slowly fades into floating letters saying Albany was the beginning and the beginning was Albany." - KARIM JABBARI
If you walk down to the Grey Street roundabout you can admire the grandest building on the whole of York St, the Albany Town Hall, designed by Adelaide firm Henderson, Marriot and Co., a superb example of Victorian Free Classical architecture. The building’s foundation stone was laid on December 9, 1886, by Albany Mayoress Mrs W G Knight and approximately 18 months later on June 1, 1888, the building was officially opened by her husband, Mayor William Grills Knight,
Externally, Albany Town Hall is built from granite masonry with stucco decoration and internally from plastered brickwork. It is a two-storey building with a gallery and additional levels in the central clock tower. Its Free Classical elements include corner pilasters and quoins, round and elliptical details to window openings, pediments and decorative urns at the ends of the truncated pediment. This sits behind a clock tower which continues the architectural detail and is capped by a domed roof and flagpole.
Since its construction the town hall has been used for entertainment, public meetings and indoor sporting activities. In the period 1981-1986 the building was converted into a theatre reflecting the earlier use in 1911 of the building as a picture theatre.
Continuing on across Grey St is The Premier Hotel, the second of the three hotels built in Albany in the 1890s. Currently under construction so getting a nice pic of it was not going to happen. Apparently the former licencee orchestrated a fire that caused $1.5 million worth of damage to the historic hotel so he could claim the insurance. He was caught and has been jailed for 10 years.
Thankfully plans were recently revealed for the hotel’s new life, hence why it is under construction and will be till 2020.
In the lane-way alongside the hotel is the next piece of art, created by one of my favourite artists 'Stormie Mills'. His art titled 'So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away' incorporates paste up leaves by Albany artist Nat Rad, and acknowledges the ANZAC'S who left Albany and never came back.
"I melded the idea of someone who I respect and admire for their resilience and tenacity, FORM's Production Manager Sean Byford, with a homage to the ANZAC's that was perhaps, and it remains to be seen, more of a transient component of the whole work." - STORMIE MILLS
Next up in the lane way between The Wombat Lodge and The Hub is a beautiful piece by artist Andrew Frazer called Returning Home. The mural is a nature based narrative work evoking journeys. Andrew has incorporated local plants into the mural and worked topography into the body of the character her has created in a reference to the area.
"The bandage on this character represents the hurdles we face, and how we carry them but move forward despite them." - ANDREW FRAZER
Next up is Fearless by artist Borondo located on the wall opposite the beautiful building of the Scots Uniting Church. Borondo's style is influenced by his exposure to the Christ and the Holy Mary sculptures which his father restored as a career in Madrid. For this mural he sketched up his lines with a spray can through netting taped to the wall so he could reproduce the outline across the length of the wall before completing the work with aerosol and rollers.
"Through my artworks and their different levels I try to make people think about the hidden messages behind the poetic image. I look for reflection and harmony and not for reaction." - BORONDO
Along the walk you will see lots of these small square mosaics etched into the paving. I couldn't find a single bit of information on these, instead jagging finding out from Geoff Waldeck when I was admiring the artwork outside Six Degrees. Apparently it is the work of his wife, Sue Codee. Would be great to have some acknowledgement somewhere or some info on the displays.
Heading down to the corner of York and Stirling Tce is where you will find a few points of interest.
First of all the grand Empire Buildings, which are a group of heritage listed buildings constructed in 1912 and once comprised a group of shops and a cinema. The buildings have elements of Federation Free Style architectural design such as asymmetry and use of two contrasting building materials of brick and cement render. Features of the two storey building include a corner entrance, asymmetrical facade, parapet wall concealing roof, informal groupings of windows, gabled pediment and decorative skyline features.
The Western Australian Bank, also known as the Haynes Robinson building, is a heritage listed building located next door to the Empire Buildings. It was built in the Federation Academic Classical style and originally housed the local branch of the Commercial Bank of Australia. The two storey building has many features that are identical to the Empire Buildings.The two storey building has a symmetrical smooth rendered façade, with the lower floor finished in rendered ashlar. The paired groups of arched windows have classical pillars and prominent architraves. A number of classical motifs have been utilised to embellish the façade.
Just across the road in front of these buildings is a striking sculpture to mark the centenary of the end of WWI called ‘Marching Soldiers’. Sculptor Tony Pankiw created the work, which depicts two soldiers on their way to depart troopships in November 1914.
"I wanted to send them back home for the 2018 commemorations – they have come home after the war, alive and well. I wanted to return them to the place the Anzacs left in 1914 and thought having the two soldiers in Albany again at this special time would be very complementary to the City’s events." - TONY PANKIW
From here you will need to cross over York St again as we begin to make our way back up to the Visitors Centre. On the opposite corner you'll find the
Directly opposite is a state heritage-listed York Street landmark, Albany House which was originally constructed as the Union Bank of Australia building, and completed in 1884. The banking chamber occupied the ground floor while the manager's residence took up the first floor. The two storey building was built in the Victorian Regency style; it is constructed from load-bearing masonry that has been rendered and painted. A rendered plinth at the base of the building is continuous around the main facade and is deepest at the truncated corner as the site slopes to the south. The building has a dominant square form with a truncated corner, where the main entrance is located, at the intersection of Stirling Terrace and York Street.
An example of an old phone box sits just outside.
A couple of other heritage listed buildings are just a little further up.
Blush retail gallery is situated in a beautiful white heritage building seen below. The building has recently been refurbished, and features a new light filled contemporary showroom.
Next door, the yellow and brown building was the old “Nonna’s” restaurant, a local landmark for more than 50 years. The 120 year old building has been transformed by the South Coast Woodworks team into a stunning new gallery space.
On the corner of York and Peels Pl is where you will find the Albany War Memorial, commemorating those who died in service or were killed in action in World War One, World War Two, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. It was originally erected as a World War One Monument.
In the same garden complex is where you will find St John's Church, the first church to be consecrated in Western Australia and which is still in use today. Together with St John's Rectory and Hall, the War Memorial, Scots Uniting Church (across the road) and the Town Hall, this historic precinct forms an important focal point for Albany.
The last of the heritage buildings is the Newspaper House, Home to Albany Advertiser. First published in 1888 as the Australian Advertiser, the paper is still in circulation. The paper is the oldest continuous-running non-metropolitan newspaper in Western Australia.
From here you just need to walk back up to the visitors centre. I will mention that Stirling Terrace is another worthy place that would warrant a trail. I've done a little bit of exploring but perhaps that will be another blog for another day.
Hopefully this post inspires you to visit and if so, we would love to hear your thoughts on the trail. Please feel free to tag us in your adventures.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we walk, the traditional lands of the first nations people & wish to acknowledge them as traditional owners paying respects to their Elders, past & present, and Elders from other communities who may be here today.