Coffs Harbour Welcome 725 Squadron

Published on Ms Natalie Staples (author)

Location(s): Coffs Harbour, New South Wales

Personnel will march with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, band playing and colours flying. They will be accompanied by local cadets and the Royal Australian Navy Band. (photo: Unknown)
Personnel will march with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, band playing and colours flying. They will be accompanied by local cadets and the Royal Australian Navy Band.

The Coffs Harbour community gave a warm welcome to 725 Squadron when personnel visited to exercise Freedom of Entry.

Around 115 Navy personnel, 10 local cadets and a contingent of the Royal Australian Navy band marched down the main street, led by Commanding Officer 725 Squadron, Commander Matt Royals.

Police Local Area Commander, Mark Holohan challenged the parade while Mayor of Coffs Harbour, Councillor Denise Knight and Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer reviewed the parade.

Pilot Lieutenant Dave Barlow said he enjoyed the experience.

"It was my first Freedom of Entry and it was great to be part of it," he said.

"The community were really welcoming and they enjoyed the flypast of the four Romeo aircraft," Lieutenant Barlow said.

"It is great for the Squadron to be associated with such a great city."

Coffs Harbour adopted 725 Squadron in March 2015. Previously the City enjoyed a relationship with 805 Squadron, which decommissioned in 2008.

Coffs Harbour Mayor, Councillor Denise Knight said the City was pleased to reaffirm links with Navy. 

"The adoption of 725 Squadron was very positively supported by members of local RSL sub-branches and Returned and Ex-Services Clubs in the region."

"Coffs Harbour is a thriving City, relationships like this is what it's all about," Mayor Denise Knight said.

The tradition of Freedom of Entry originates in medieval times, when a city would show its trust in a group of men-at-arms by allowing them to enter their walls without being disarmed. Nowadays the right of Freedom of Entry is a symbolic mark of honour and support from a city to a military unit.

The Squadron is based at Naval Air Station Nowra and operates as the training squadron for the Seahawk Romeo maritime combat helicopters (MH-60R). The Romeo aircraft are Navy's newest aircraft and next generation submarine hunter and anti-surface warfare helicopter.