Freedom of Entry granted

By Benalla Ensign

A procession of 45 Navy personnel from HMAS Benalla (II) and the Royal Australian Navy Band will march along Bridge St on Tuesday, July 16, as part of a Freedom of Entry to the City ceremony.

Freedom of Entry to the City ceremonies date back to medieval times where a neighbouring armed force was granted freedom to enter a city’s walls while carrying weapons as a sign of mutual trust and respect.

The Royal Australian Navy, since its formation, has upheld the tradition of Freedom of Entry ceremonies as a march through a ship’s namesake city or township with weapons drawn, band playing and flags flying.

HMAS Benalla (II) was commissioned on March 20, 1990.

Benalla Mayor Scott Upston said granting permission for this ceremony confirmed the bond between the rural city and HMAS Benalla (II).

‘‘The granting of Freedom of Entry is the highest accolade a city can bestow upon a group from the Navy or Army,’’ Cr Upston said.

‘‘This is a historic opportunity for Benalla to see a Freedom of Entry Ceremony and I encourage our community to come along.’’

Bridge St East and West from Carrier St to Arundel St will be closed to traffic during the event.

The event will begin at 11am when HMAS Benalla II Ship’s Company and the Royal Australian Navy Band form up at the corner of Carrier and Bridge Sts.

The march will start at 11.15am.

At 11.30am The Ship’s Company arrive at the Monash Bridge and seek to exercise Freedom of Entry.

The Ship’s Company and band then continue over the Bridge to the entrance of the Botanical Gardens, arriving at 11.45am.