HMAS Bathurst exercises her Freedom of Entry

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

Location(s): Bathurst, New South Wales

Topic(s): Freedom of Entry, HMAS Bathurst (P85)

The crew of HMAS Bathurst march through the city of Bathurst during a Freedom of Entry. (photo: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez)
The crew of HMAS Bathurst march through the city of Bathurst during a Freedom of Entry.

With swords drawn and colours flying, 20 officers and sailors from Royal Australian Navy patrol boat, HMAS Bathurst , exercised Freedom of Entry recently to their namesake city.
The ceremonial occassion was the second of its kind for Bathurst with the first Freedom of Entry conducted shortly after the ship’s commissioning in February 2006.
Commanding Officer, Bathurst, Lieutenant Commander David Shirvington said the march through the city was an opportunity to reaffirm the ship’s ties and friendship with the City of Bathurst.
“In the last decade, Bathurst has served with distinction in Australia’s civil maritime security operations,” he said.
“A generation of sailors who have served in Bathurst, have worked with great tenacity and professionalism in order to preserve Australia’s security and sovereignty at home.
“For this we are very proud and we look forward to sharing in these achievements with the people of Bathurst.”
Officers and sailors, joined by members of the Royal Australian Navy Band, marched from Carrington Park on the corner of Bentinck and Howick Street, onto William Street and then Russell Street, before a final 'challenge' by the Chief of Police, Commander Michael Robinson at the council pavilion.
Mayor of Bathurst, Councillor Gary Rush, took the parade salute, with reviewing officer, Commander Mine Warfare, Clearance Diving, Hydrographic, Meteorological and Patrol Force, Captain Michael Harris, at the corner of William and Church Streets.
The tradition of granting Freedom of Entry to a city 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.
HMAS Ballarat  is third of 13 Armidale class patrol boats, named after Australian cities and towns with close links with Navy heritage.
The patrol boats constitute the Navy’s principal contribution to the nation's fisheries protection, immigration, customs and drug law enforcement operations.
The vessels work hand-in-hand with other Government agencies such as the Australian Border Force.