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Freedom of Entry

HMAS Stirling Crew marching in uniform.

Video

Freedom of Entry

Footage of the 2023 Freedom of Entry - HMAS Stirling and City of Rockingham.

HMAS crew marching down the street during a parade. HMAS crew marching down the street during a parade.

Freedom of Entry and the City of Rockingham

Freedom of Entry can be granted to units of the Defence Force which have significant attachment to a local government.  

For more than 40 years the City of Rockingham has fostered a strong relationship between Defence and local community industries. Garden Island hosts a workforce of more than 3600 staff, including active duty members, defence civilians and long term contractors.

The City of Rockingham granted Freedom of Entry to HMAS Stirling on 12 November 1988 in conjunction with its celebration of Rockingham becoming a City.

On 9 September 2023, HMAS Stirling exercised its right of Freedom of Entry in Rockingham, armed, with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums and band playing.

2023 Freedom of Entry Event

Saturday 9 September 2023, Churchill Park Rockingham Beach Foreshore

The ceremony of HMAS Stirling exercising its right of Freedom of Entry was centred on a formal ceremony in Churchill Park, where the parade was inspected by Mayor Hamblin. The unit then exercised its right to Freedom of Entry in a march down Rockingham Beach Road. The parade was halted at the challenge location on the cross road of Flinders Lane and a challenge was issued by the Rockingham Police Force. The City Marshall acknowledged the unit's right, privilege and permitted the unit to pass. The unit of HMAS Stirling  then continued down Flinders Lane towards Anzac Park War Memorial where the Commanding Officer, Captain Ken Burleigh, and Mayor Hamblin took salute. 

Freedom of Entry Parade

  • 2023 Freedom of EntryHMAS Stirling entering onto Village Green
  • Royal Australian Navy band at Churchill Park
  • HMAS Stirling formed up at Churchill Park
  • 2023 Freedom of EntryHMAS Stirling formed up at Churchill Park
  • 2023 Freedom of EntryFreedom of Entry - Churchill Park
  • 2023 Freedom of EntryFreedom of Entry - Churchill Park
  • 2023 Freedom of EntryFreedom of Entry parade (Flinders Lane and Rockingham Beach Road)
  • Challenge with the City Marshall Senior Sergeant Ian Francis and HMAS Stirling (Flinders Lane and Rockingham Beach Road)
  • 2023 Freedom of EntryFreedom of Entry - Anzac Park
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  • 2023 Freedom of Entry
  • 2023 Freedom of Entry
  • 2023 Freedom of Entry
  • 2023 Freedom of Entry
  • 2023 Freedom of Entry
  • 2023 Freedom of Entry

Defence themed community festival

  • HMAS Clearance Dive Team 4 arrival
  • TS Anzac and TS Comet
  • Legacy Bear with Mayor Hamblin
  • 2023 Freedom of EntryFreedom of Entry Defence themed Community Event
  • Freedom of Entry Defence themed Community Event
  • Freedom of Entry Defence themed Community Event
  • Freedom of Entry Defence themed Community Event
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  • 2023 Freedom of Entry
Aerial view of HMAS Stirling returning to Fleet Base West on Garden Island. Aerial view of HMAS Stirling returning to Fleet Base West on Garden Island.

About the 2023 Freedom of Entry – HMAS Stirling

The City of Rockingham conferred Freedom of Entry to HMAS Stirling on 9 September 2023 to mark the following milestones:

  • 35 years since Rockingham became a City
  • 45 years since the commissioning of HMAS Stirling
  • 112 years since Garden Island was selected as a naval base in 1911.

The exercising of the Freedom of Entry to the City enables the local government to honour a distinguished unit of the armed forces and strengthens the ties between both citizens and service personnel.

Aerial view of Fleet Base West Aerial view of Fleet Base West

Freedom of Entry History

Freedom of Entry to the City is an ancient honour and the highest accolade that is bestowed to a military unit with historic ties to the area governed by the local government.

During medieval times, in continental Europe and the British Isles, fortress walls afforded cities protection from incursions by outlaw bands and attacks by feudal lords. The citizens of those walled cities wisely refused to allow entry to armed groups, including troops, unless they were absolutely sure that those arms would not be used against them.

As cities and towns were invariably situated on main roads and at principal road junctions, denial of entry imposed great hardship on troops ‘on the march’. Food and arms could not be replenished and it became necessary to take long detours over difficult terrain to reach a given destination or objective. Troops soon saw the merit in establishing good relations with the corporations and citizens of walled cities and by good conduct earned the privilege of entry and passage. This privilege, not readily won and highly prized, was known as Freedom of Entry. In the case of the Navy, Freedom of the City recognises the defence of sea port cities and towns.

Hence the granting of permission to a formed body of armed men to enter a city became the mark of trust and confidence in which that body was held by its citizens. Source: Royal Australian Navy.

Granting the Freedom of Entry, in accordance with military law and tradition, allows military units the privilege of marching into the City with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and ensign flying.

Traditionally, the Freedom of Entry is a formal ceremonial event involving a parade and the ceremonial handing over of a scroll or similar to signify the bestowing of Freedom of the City. It also includes a challenge by the State Police Service.

For more information on the history of Freedom of Entry visit the Royal Australian Navy website.

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