The City of Parramatta is proud to welcome the crew of the HMAS Parramatta and grant Freedom of Entry to the City on Saturday 14 September 2019.
The event kicks off at Prince Alfred Square at 12pm, where City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Andrew Wilson will present the Commanding Officer of the HMAS Parramatta with “Freedom of Entry”. After accepting this honour, the crew will commence a lively procession through the City – down Church Street to Parramatta Town Hall, Centenary Square.
“The HMAS Parramatta Freedom of Entry parade is a wonderful opportunity for the community to honour the men and women of the Royal Australian Navy for their service,” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Andrew Wilson said.
“We previously granted the Freedom of Entry to the crew of HMAS Parramatta back in 2013, and I look forward to welcoming the ship’s officers and sailors to our City once again. I invite everyone – locals and visitors, young and old – to come and experience this incredible tradition firsthand.”
Commanding Officer of HMAS Parramatta Commander Troy Van Tienhoven said the Freedom of Entry marches are a longstanding tradition, which allow the crew of a warship to enter its home city with swords drawn, colours flying and drums beating.
“Parramatta is the fourth ship to carry the name, and her history and association with the City dates back over a century to the establishment of the Royal Australian Navy. This is the first time HMAS Parramatta will exercise her Freedom of Entry since 2013 and comes in the middle of a busy period as we prepare to deploy,” Commander Van Tienhoven said.
“A number of our crew live within the Parramatta district and they are looking forward to parading in front of their family and friends, and reaffirming our relationship with the local community.”
Along the route, near Lennox Bridge, the parade will be halted and a senior police representative will challenge the Navy’s right to enter. The Navy will then present its Freedom of Entry scroll before the unit is permitted to pass and continue on its way.
The Hills Community Concert Band and City of Parramatta Band will entertain crowds from 10.30am to 12pm outside Riverside Theatres on Church Street.
The granting of Freedom of Entry is the highest accolade a town or city can bestow upon a group of service men and women, and it considered just as much of an honour today as it was centuries ago.
For those who are interested in learning more about the City’s connection with the HMAS Parramatta, there will be an exhibition from 2 to 15 September, 9am to 5pm, at the Parramatta Heritage and Visitor Information Centre showcasing the history of the ship.
Visitors will have an opportunity to learn about the four HMAS Parramatta ships and view memorabilia, including the brass bell from HMAS Parramatta (III).
The NSW Lancers Memorial Museum will also be open on 14 September from 10am to 4pm, in honour of this special event.