City to host historic Freedom of Entry Parade for HMAS Stirling

Community members are encouraged to come and enjoy the Freedom of Entry Parade that will be hosted at the Rockingham Foreshore on 9 September. Picture: Courtesy Royal Australian Navy.

The City of Rockingham will host a prestigious civic event for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) on Saturday, September 9.

The Freedom of Entry Parade for HMAS Stirling is a tradition which stretches back to medieval times and is a mark of trust and confidence.

It is the highest accolade a city can bestow on a military unit and will be a free, family-friendly event at Churchill Park that will be held to acknowledge and celebrate the longstanding close ties between the City and HMAS Stirling.

The City first granted Freedom of Entry to HMAS Stirling on 12 November 1988, in conjunction with its celebration of Rockingham becoming a City. 

On September 9, HMAS Stirling will exercise its right of Freedom of Entry in Rockingham with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating and band playing.

Following the formal Freedom of Entry ceremony, the City will host the Freedom of Entry Community Festival with assistance from HMAS Stirling. 

The festival will be the first of its kind ever held in Rockingham and will feature Resident Units from HMAS Stirling, joint military police and submarine recruitment officers, and local community defence organisations such as Legacy, Soldiers and Sirens, Marilla House, RSL and Open Arms.

Local musicians and military bands will also provide live entertainment. 

Mayor Deb Hamblin said the Freedom of Entry would be a powerful gesture that honoured the positive relationship shared between the City and HMAS Stirling. 

“HMAS Stirling plays a crucial role in serving and protecting our country, and the City gratefully appreciates the work that all Defence personnel undertake,” Mayor Hamblin said. 

“The base is not only vital to protecting our nation’s interests, it’s also one of the biggest economic drivers in the Rockingham region. More than 3,600 staff work here and many of these people are local residents.     

“Over the coming decade the Australian Government will upgrade the capability of HMAS Stirling and it’s vital we continue to strengthen our relationship into the future.” 

Commanding Officer of HMAS Stirling Captain Ken Burleigh said it was an honour to be granted Freedom of Entry to the City of Rockingham. 

“We are proud to be a part of the Rockingham community. Being granted Freedom of Entry means a lot to the Navy personnel who serve at HMAS Stirling,” Captain Burleigh said.  

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