Albany Shire has long held a reputation for welcoming the traveller. She sits on the middle shores of the Great Southern Ocean in Western Australia. Her beaches stretching into inlets and bays are now the precinct of the fisherman and boaties alike. It was once where whalers and sealers hunted, where emigrants passed by following the coast seeking the path to inland gold, the often sad tears of the sun and where traditional natives feasted and followed their Songlines and sandy trails in an endless cycle of surviving the seasons of the sun and wind. It is a region of immense beauty with tall giants settled into her forests and winding tracks of soft and solid sands offering recreational entertainment for the 4×4 enthusiast. The shire is RV friendly with a number of rest area’s, many that could do with a loo or two, yet she sits proud amongst those coastal towns of WA offering welcome within her region and a myriad of activities and entertainments.
The freecamp site at Cosy Corner, one that is settled along the shoreline east from the township of Albany. It also has a fine and long proven reputation amongst the Grey Nomads and Wicked Campers. It’s a camp that is a example of how freecamping can bring a measure of prosperity to a region. The camp is now in another of its development stages and will see a re-birthing in the coming year as the Shire Council is taking an interest in improving the site from the freecamp, to that of a ‘low cost’ managed campsite in its future development. This with a view in the safety and welfare of campers in what has become a favoured spot over the years for recreational campers and travelling life-stylers.
For the first time they have introduced camp hosts, those fine people who often voluntarily organize a freecamp for the safety and comfort of others in exchange for a good, fixed site at the camp. This currently is what is happening at Cosy Corner and the new camp hosts have some experience in what camping life-stylers and recreational travellers need. They are doing a great job with the support of the local Bush Ranger to assist.
This was where The Man and I decided to spend our Australia Day celebration and we couldn’t have been more delighted with the wonderful free spirit in the company of freecampers as we all celebrated our Love of our Country and our Freedom. This is of course the true historical meaning of Australia Day.
It was a meaning born in the very first public celebration of our liberty, in the birth of our nation building and precious freedom. What has now become known as Australia Day was celebrated traditionally on, and since, the 26th January 1788. Every year thereafter, despite the disquiet of the first Governors and the colonial military gaolers, convicts, natives and their kids, and later settlers as well as the ex-military joined in this celebration on the shores of Sydney Cove along with other settlements. We celebrated as our young nation, unified in its struggle to survive, spread its mantle throughout the continent.
After many years the colonial authorities of the day, realizing that they would never be able to quash what had become a annual party celebrating our freedom, gave up trying and instead declared it to be a celebration of Empire and things other than it originally was. Never the less, history records the true events of the day and knowing your National history and separating it from what others would make of it to their own ends, is important.
At Cosy Corner, the camp hosts gathered everyone together in a sheltered corner of the freecamp and we all freely enjoyed a small party and BBQ in our own in true Aussie fashion. It was a delight to be a part of, and as the afternoon stretched into happy hour as the gathering ambled along with good ole Aussie tunes and traditional songs played from the cab of a handy RV filling the air… it was a really wonderful occasion.
Cosy Corner in time will go on to become a council organized and run recreational travellers camp but this will take time and effort. They will improve the site with monies raised when the imposition of a small camp fee is introduced in the coming year or two. It is already a comfortable camp, offering sandy tracks and the pleasant lulling sound of the role in the Great Southern Ocean at its feet and the shade of sheltering dune acacia’s and bush. The first of the public amenities in bins and drop loos are in place but it is currently still strictly for the self-suficient campers. Fresh water is not readily available, though there is a source not far down the beach that services the public recreation area that which sits pleasantly on the Bibbulmun walking Track.
Power and water are both BYO and shopping can be found in the nearby coastal towns as well as in Albany, which is within easy reach. It is a delightful spot along with so many of these treasured recreational bush camps scattered along the coast in Natural Reserves, National Parks and freecamps.
The Ranger and Camp Hosts have managed to move on the squatting set, opening up old favoured camp sites for public use once more and I dare say these life-stylers will find another corner somewhere along the coast as they usually do. It is a cycle of development, a growth of industry and commerce, one that drives the development and prosperity of nearby settlements and towns. A growth that is rudely disrupted by pig-headed Councils which ban the natural development of freecamps and rest area’s for travellers in favour of commercial holiday parks, usually that which the councillors have an interest in. This is how people can stymie the growth and prosperity of their regions.
Albany deserves credit where credit is due in her forward-looking view of recreational development. I hope that in future years she will continue to foster her RV and traveller friendly outlook as the SW corner of the state enjoys the development boons of forward thinking residents and councillors. One of our favourite spots during our stay here was to call into was the garage/general store & Tavern at Elleker, east between Albany and Cosy Corner. It is a lovely friendly little spot that caters to the traveller and local alike.
The NW corner of WA should take note of how to encourage development in their shires in catering for all types of travellers in their regions, particularly if they wish to join the rest of the country in the growth and prosperity often bought with the travelling life-stylers, international tourers and adventurers in Australia. These people who are often self sufficient, find little to attract them in commercialized tourism and Caravan Parks catering largely for holidaymakers.
Some will lament the loss of Cosy Corner as a freecamp, in favour of a camp with requires a small management fee that is needed due to the camps popularity. I personally see it as regional growth and no doubt anticipate that other freecamps will pop up for the recreational life-stylers, developing other area’s in this endless cycle of growth and prosperity for towns throughout the rural and coastal regions of this wonderful Aussie land.