The City of Parramatta paid tribute to the service of men and women from all ships that have carried the Parramatta name in a wreath laying ceremony at the HMAS Parramatta (I) memorial at Queens Wharf Park this week.
This was followed by a traditional Freedom of Entry into the City of Parramatta where the ship’s company of HMAS Parramatta (IV) were granted entry to parade armed through the streets.
Freedom of Entry parades are conducted to mark special occasions and this one was held to coincide with the Navy’s International Fleet Review celebrations this week. The community of Parramatta were out in force to witness the parade.
Lead by Commanding Officer, Commander Simon Cannell, 150 men and women in full ceremonial dress proudly paraded the streets of Parramatta after the successful ‘challenge’ to the City. The challenge was made to prove HMAS Parramatta’s entitlement to march through the City’s streets.
Commander Cannell said that both the Freedom of Entry and the wreath laying ceremony were evidence of the strong ties between the City of Parramatta and its namesake ship.
“The ship’s relationship with the community of Parramatta is exceptionally strong – every time HMAS Parramatta departs and returns to Sydney after a deployment, the Parramatta community is there to welcome the ship home. This is very symbolic of their feeling toward HMAS Parramatta,” said Commander Cannell.
The tradition of Freedom of Entry dates back to medieval times, when military units were granted freedom to enter the town, creating a mutual relationship whereby the town supported the unit, and the unit provided defence to the city.
“The honour of being granted permission to march through the City now reinforces and symbolises the trust and friendship between the community and military personnel," he said.
“It is difficult to describe the immense feeling of pride as I lead the men and women of HMAS Parramatta through the streets of the City – it is difficult to portray in words,” said Commander Cannell.
The wreath laying ceremony took place just prior to the Freedom of Entry at the HMAS Parramatta (II) memorial on the banks of the Parramatta River.
HMAS Parramatta’s Chaplain, Andrew Lewis, led a prayer remembering those who have served in all four ships, especially the 138 men who died in Parramatta (II) in support of operations in the siege of Tobruk.
The Lord Mayor, Councillor John Chedid, and Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Paul Garrard, laid wreaths of commemoration. The Parramatta Returned Services Leagues and Naval Association of Australia also laid wreaths and participated in the service.
Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/IFR13024.