Sydney’s own ship’s company on parade

Published on Mr Ben Wickham (author), ABIS Alan Lancaster (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney, NSW

Topic(s): HMAS Sydney (F03), Freedom of Entry

Stock image: Members of HMAS Sydney's ships company pay their respects as they march past the Martin Place Cenotaph, Sydney, during the 2011 Anzac Day Morning March. (photo: ABIS Alan Lancaster)
Stock image: Members of HMAS Sydney's ships company pay their respects as they march past the Martin Place Cenotaph, Sydney, during the 2011 Anzac Day Morning March.

Up to 350 current and former sailors and officers from Sydney’s own warship, HMAS Sydney, will parade up Macquarie Street in the city this Friday, 6 November. Officers and sailors will march through the main street with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, band playing and colours flying.
 
The Freedom of Entry parade is ahead of the ship’s decommissioning at Fleet Base East, Woolloomooloo, on Saturday, 7 November.
 
Friday’s parade will commence at noon on the corner of Bridge and Macquarie Streets. The contingent will then march up Macquarie Street, finishing at the Sydney Opera House forecourt by around 12:30pm.
 
The tradition of Freedom of Entry stretches back to the Middle Ages, 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.
 
In keeping with tradition, the parade will halt along the route and face a ceremonial challenge from the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, and a representative of the NSW Police Commissioner, before being permitted to proceed.
 
Due to the parade Macquarie Street will be closed between Bridge Street and the Sydney Opera House between 9:00am and 12:30pm. Navy has consulted with the City of Sydney and local authorities in planning this parade.
 
HMAS Sydney (IV) has a proud history, with over 32 years’ service to Australia, including active service in Kuwait 1991, East Timor and subsequent deployments to the Middle East.
 
The current Sydney is the fourth Royal Australian Navy ship to bear the name. The previous three were a First World War era light cruiser, a Second World War era light cruiser and an aircraft carrier-turned-troop transport ship, respectively.
 
The next ship to bear the distinguished name will be a Hobart class destroyer, which is expected to enter service around 2020.