HMAS Wollongong to request Freedom of Entry

On Saturday 26 November, the HMAS Wollongong crew will be making their final visit to Wollongong as part of the ship’s decommissioning deployment down the east coast of Australia.

As part of this event, the HMAS Wollongong will ask the City of Wollongong to grant Freedom of Entry, an old tradition that is centred around a military parade. This is a special occasion and we’re inviting our community to watch the parade as it passes through the CBD.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said that granting Freedom of Entry is one of the highest honours a town or city can grant.

“The tradition of Freedom of Entry began in European mediaeval times when citizens could not be sure that an armed group at their gates wouldn’t plunder and attack the city, or whether they were a friend or foe! Granting Freedom of Entry was a real sign of trust and confidence,” Cr Bradbery said.

“The HMAS Wollongong has visited Wollongong a number of times over the years. This occasion is special as the vessel is scheduled to decommission in December 2022. For those watching, this will be a glimpse of our city’s military history and tradition.”

What does a Freedom of Entry involve?

A Freedom of Entry ceremony is a formal event and it’s centred around a military parade that begins at a certain point and marches to what’s known as “the challenge point”. This is where the Lord Mayor, NSW Police and Aboriginal Elders will halt the parade.

“At the challenge point, the military unit will present a scroll that authorises their right of freedom to enter the city. NSW Police will respond to the scroll and the unit will continue to march through the city,” Cr Bradbery said.

“A number of crew members from the ship will participate in the event along with a marching band. There will be multiple points to watch the procession as they step off at MacCabe Park, near the Wollongong Anzac Memorial on Church Street and into the Crown Street Mall.”

Commanding Officer HMAS Wollongong, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Hams said his crew is looking forward to reaffirming their bond with the city.

“This is the first time since 2017 that HMAS Wollongong’s crew have conducted a Freedom of Entry in Wollongong,” Lieutenant Commander Hams said.

“It will be a great honour to lead the ship’s company in what will be our last parade before the boat decommissions in December. Thanks to the City of Wollongong for your support. We value the relationship forged through our shared name.”

The Freedom of Entry will start at 10am from MacCabe Park Wollongong, near the Wollongong Anzac Memorial on Church Street. The Challenge will occur in the Crown Street Mall.

Road closures

Road closures will be in place from 9.30-10.30am on Saturday 26 November between:

  • Burelli Street, between Kembla and Keira Streets
  • Church Street, between George and Crown Streets
  • Stewart Street, between Church and Kembla Streets.

The MacCabe car park on Church Street will also be closed to the public from 5-10.30am on Saturday.

For more details about road closures, please visit our Public Notices webpage.

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