Navy people of the nation’s capital have taken to the streets of nearby Queanbeyan for a Freedom of Entry march to mark a significant milestone.
In a strong display of community spirit, officers and sailors of HMAS Harman assembled for the march from Moore Park to Queen Elizabeth II Park in celebration of Harman’s 75th commissioning anniversary. Staying true to Navy tradition, the event featured the parade through the centre of town with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, colours flying, drums beating and band playing.
The granting of Freedom of Entry is the highest accolade a town or city can bestow upon a military unit. The tradition originated 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. In modern times, it is a demonstration of the positive links between military units and the communities they represent.
Commanding Officer HMAS Harman, Commander David Luck was presented with the ceremonial scroll from the Mayor of Queanbeyan, Councillor Tim Overall and said it was an honour for Harman to be granted the Freedom of Entry.
“Many of Harman’s ship’s company live in the local area and it was great to march through the familiar streets of Queanbeyan today,” Commander Luck said.
“We’re grateful to everyone who turned out to support us and celebrate the 75th commissioning anniversary milestone.
“HMAS Harman has a rich history of service to the nation and it was a very proud moment,” he said.
Early in its history, the base played a fundamental role in enabling the first women to undertake service in the Australian Defence Force. The Women's Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) was formed in 1941, with the pioneer servicewomen performing roles as telegraphers during Second World War.
In 2018, Harman continues to provide communication services to the fleet through the Defence Network Operations Centre (DNOC) as well as facilitating administrative and personnel support to Navy members and several Reserve and Cadet units.