100th Anniversary of the first AIF Convoy

Although April the 25th and November the 11th are perhaps better known, November the 1st is one of the most important dates in Australian history. It was on November the 1st 1914, exactly 100 years ago this Saturday, that Aussie soldiers began the long voyage from Australia to fight for King & Country in ‘the war to end all wars’.

Ships bunkering in Princess Royal Harbour. Ships bunkering in Princess Royal Harbour.

The last piece of Australia seen by most of the original AIF volunteers as they set sail to war was Albany – the town on the Western Australian south coast from which the huge troop convoy embarked on the 1st of November 1914. For many of the men, it would be the last of Australia they would ever see. Viewed by many as the first chapter of the Anzac Story, and, indeed, the birthplace of the Anzac Spirit, Albany is once again the focus of national attention.

A guard of the 5th Battalion on board A3 HMAT Orvieto, 1914. A guard of the 5th Battalion on board A3 HMAT Orvieto, 1914. Source:

The 100th anniversary of the departure of the first AIF convoy from King George Sound is naturally being honoured, with a wide range of commemorative events to be held in Albany this month. A Naval Ship Open Day; a community concert with the West Australia Symphony Orchestra; an historical light & sound show; Anzac projections & storytelling; musical & choral school performances – and much, much more.

Anzacs departing Albany in 1914 Anzacs departing Albany in 1914. Source: City of Albany

Indicative of the importance of this major anniversary, a wide range of commemorative coins have been launched, giving all Australians the opportunity to pay homage to those who served the nation with such distinction during the 1914-18 First World War.