Albury was founded mainly as a customs post when Victoria and New South Wales were independent colonies which imposed tariffs on each other's goods. The railway changeover at the Albury station was the busiest in Australia, and the longest railway platform in Australia was built to deal with the traffic. Despite this, the nearby city of Corowa was the site of several conferences pivotal in Australia's federation into a nation. Sited on the main Melbourne-Sydney highway, Albury remains a major transit point of interstate commerce. It is the only town on the Hume Highway that remains to be bypassed. The rail service still also runs through the town, and there is a local airport which has scheduled daily flights to Sydney and Melbourne.
As well as serving the agricultural communities surrounding the area, the city is the home of a large pulp mill which processes the pine logs planted in the mountains to the east, an engineering plant which produces automatic transmissions for cars, and other smaller secondary industries.
Albury's proximity to Wodonga has spurred several efforts to achieve some kind of municipal governmental union. See Albury-Wodonga.
Albury serves as a regional media centre. A daily tabloid, the Border Mail, is produced there. One of the local television stations, Prime Television, also produces a regional news bulletin, and there are three local commercial radio stations. The ABC produces a local morning radio program, but the rest of their content consists of rebroadcasts from Melbourne, which is the source of most state-based media imported to Albury.
Albury is home to one of the three campuses of Charles Sturt University.
Albury is the northern stronghold of Australian rules football; further north rugby league is the main winter sport. The local Ovens and Murray league is one of the strongest regional leagues in Victoria, and many players from it have gone on to play in the Australian Football League.
Te region surrounding Albury provides a wide variety of tourist attractions, including the wineries of Rutherglen, the historic goldfields towns of Beechworth and Yackandandah, boating and fishing on the many rivers and lakes (activities very popular with the locals), the forests of the Great Dividing Range and slightly further afield many of Australia's snowfields. Albury itself, however, is not a major tourist destination. The paddle steamer Cumberoona runs tours along the Murray during the summer months (depending on river levels), and Monument Hill provides a good view of the city.
Amongst other champion sportspeople, Albury is the birthplace of women's tennis player Margaret Smith Court and basketballer Lauren Jackson.