HMAS Wollongong arrived at Port Kembla on Thursday afternoon in preparation for a rare military parade being held in Wollongong this Sunday when council gives it and its crew of 21 Freedom of Entry to the city.
The Armidale Class Patrol Boat arrived at Port Kembla just before 5pm. Its sailors will feature in two official events over the weekend before it leaves on Tuesday. Some of the crew are interested in speaking to local schools and aged care facilities on Monday and a Ceremonial Sunset will be at Figtree RSL Bowling Club at 6.30pm on Saturday.
Wollongong City Council’s acting director of community services Kerry Hunt said the Freedom of Entry ceremony will start in MacCabe Park at 10.45 on Sunday before proceeding into Crown Street Mall was significant. “Freedom of Entry to the City’ dates from medieval times when a city’s walls provided protection from bandits and attacks from others. Citizens of these cities refused to allow armed groups to enter unless the citizens were confident of their own safety. Freedom of Entry to the City is an honour that has previously been bestowed by the City of Wollongong on vessels bearing the name HMAS Wollongong. The current Armidale Class Patrol Boat has not yet been granted this freedom and council resolved to grant it in 2016”.
Australian Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, described it as a great honour for a ship to be afforded Freedom on Entry and to be welcomed into the community for which it is named. “The City of Wollongong is home to the Australian Hydrographic Service where nautical charts are produced and these ensure the safe navigation of Australian waters. Being offered the opportunity to bring a ship into port will help us cement our relationship with the city and show off some of our capabilities to the people of Wollongong”.
At 10.45am in MacCabe Park council will present HMAS Wollongong’s commanding officer with a scroll authorising the granting of Freedom of Entry.
The ship’s company and the Royal Australian Navy Band, will then march up Church Street where they will show the scroll to gain entry to the city.
From Church Street they will then march into Crown Street Mall before turning east at the stage and marching down towards Kembla Street. Outside the Church on the Mall, council and Commander Mine Warfare, Clearance Diving, Hydrographic, Meteorological and Patrol Force, Captain Warren Bairstow, will take the salute from the parade.
“This is a rare opportunity to see a military parade through the heart of Wollongong with bayonets fixed, colours flying and music playing,” Ms Hunt said.
“I’d like to encourage community members to join us in the Mall to enjoy the spectacle on Sunday 27 August.”
HMAS Wollongong visit timetable
SATURDAY 6.30pm Figtree
- Ceremonial Sunset will be at Figtree RSL Bowling Club.
SUNDAY 10.45am MacCabe Park & Crown St Mall
- HMAS Wollongong Freedom of Entry ceremony will start in MacCabe Park.
- Wollongong City Council Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery will then present HMAS Wollongong’s commanding officer and its crew with a scroll authorising the granting of Freedom of Entry.
- The ship’s company along with the Royal Australian Navy Band, will then march up Church Street.
- They will then show the scroll to gain entry to Wollongong.
- From Church Street the crew will then march into Crown Street Mall before turning east at the stage and marching down towards Kembla Street.
- Outside the Church on the Mall, council and Commander Mine Warfare, Clearance Diving, Hydrographic, Meteorological and Patrol Force, Captain Warren Bairstow, will take the salute from the parade.
MONDAY in Wollongong
- Members of the crew speak at local schools and aged care facilities.