Royal visit enthralled

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in Albany as part of their Royal Tour in 1954.
Camera IconQueen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in Albany as part of their Royal Tour in 1954.

By the 1950s Albany’s reputation as a whaling hotspot was well known.

Whalers had hunted in the waters off Albany for more than 100 years by then, but the town’s growth, its port and a demand for whale products meant whaling was a profitable industry.

One year after it opened, in 1953, the Cheyne Beach Whaling Company was already harvesting 100 whales a season, which the Advertiser reported like sport.

Regular counts were published and an end-of-season hunt reported like a religious experience.

“The whaling season had come to an end … at this point the clouds parted and it was as if even fate had stepped aside to let through the sheer determination of man.

The determination to see a job well done,” it said.

Whaling was not the only news in Albany from 1948-1968, however.

During the two decades Manypeaks was cleared; Albany lost yet more men in warfare, this time in Korea; the Royals visited; the Mt Clarence memorial opened; and television came to town.

When the GSW9 channel (now GWN7) first lit up Albany screens in 1968, enthusiastic Advertiser journalists reported “top-line programmes Disneyland, Big Valley, Burke’s Law, Flipper and four big movies every week” would be coming to Albany screens.

“The news unit ... utilises a light aircraft, so it can readily be on the spot to cover important news items, bringing that day’s news to the screen the same night,” it continued.

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