Cruise tourists get Anzac insights

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

Albany’s rich Anzac history was centrestage this week with the arrival of the first World War I Commemorative Tour cruise ship.

The Astor Cruise ship arrived on Tuesday morning and the military celebrations began with a dawn service aboard the ship in the harbour, where 300 passengers were joined by special speakers.

Travel With Purpose owner John Spark organised the tour in a bid to make Albany the Anzac capital of Australia. He said once docked, 41 people toured Albany’s military heritage locations.

“Everyone walked away there with a way deeper understanding of Albany’s military history, not just the Anzacs,” he said.

“We learnt about the significance about the submarine bases that were based out of Albany in the 1940s for WWII.

“This whole thing is about making sure that people know and really understand that there is history here, so that they stay longer.”

Mr Spark said one of the activities that overwhelmed the visitors was the Recollection of War Museum. “One man said that he had worked and travelled all over the world but nothing comes close to this,” he said.

“They have personally collected everything and do not collect stuff unless they personally know the story behind it and that is what makes everything in there special and brought to life.”

Brigadier Geoff Hand led guided tours through the Plantagenet lower battery and shared stories with both locals and visitors.

The day ended with a dusk service at the National Anzac Museum with the Albany RSL.

Mr Spark said the tour company planned to make the tour an annual event and hoped to expand it to a two-day stay.

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