HMAS Penguin exercises her Freedom of Entry

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Andrew Ragless (author), ABIS Bonny Gassner (photographer)

Topic(s): Freedom of Entry, HMAS Penguin, 75th Anniversary

Children from Mosman Public and the Mosman Church of England Preparatory schools cheer as the ship's company of HMAS Penguin march down Military Road, Mosman. (photo: ABIS Bonny Gassner)
Children from Mosman Public and the Mosman Church of England Preparatory schools cheer as the ship's company of HMAS Penguin march down Military Road, Mosman.

With pride and enthusiasm, up to 200 officers and sailors from HMAS Penguin have exercised their Freedom of Entry into the Municipality of Mosman.

The time honoured tradition was held in celebration of Penguin’s 75th anniversary of commissioning in 1942 and to formally open the biennial Festival of Mosman.

Mosman Deputy Mayor, Councillor Roy Bendall said the Freedom of Entry was conferred in recognition of the friendship and diligent service the Royal Australian Navy has extended to the community.

“HMAS Penguin has a long and enduring friendship with the people of Mosman,” he said.

“The event has been a great opportunity for the community to show their support for Penguin, and the legacy of the men and women who have served the area with distinction for more than 75 years, in war and in peace,” he said.

Commanding Officer, Penguin, Commander Ian Campbell said the ship’s company were proud of their heritage.

“Throughout our history Penguin has been an important part of the lower North Shore community,” he said.

“We are honoured that we continue to enjoy the support of our neighbours and local community, both here in Mosman and up at Avalon Beach where our annex is located.”

On commissioning in July 1942, Penguin was home to the Balmoral Naval Hospital and served as a convalescence centre and as base for Fairmile motor launches that patrolled Sydney Harbour.

Today, Penguin is home to the Australian Defence Force Diving School, Navy Medical and Hydrographic Schools, Maritime Operational Health Unit, the Submarine and Underwater Medicine Unit, One Commando Company and the Australian Defence Force Centre for Mental Health.

Penguin remains active in the local community, regularly supporting charity events including the Balmoral Swim for Cancer, Balmoral Burn and Humpty Dumpty Foundation, Cancer Council Relay for Life at Manly, the Mosman Festival and Anzac Day commemorative services,” Commander Campbell 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.

Information about HMAS Penguin is available at: http://www.navy.gov.au/establishments/hmas-penguin

Imagery will be available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20172519