Fraser Coast residents can cheer on the crew of the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Maryborough II when they parade through the streets of Maryborough as part of a special ‘Freedom of Entry’ ceremony on Sunday, 3 September.
The Freedom of Entry to the City is a right granted to a military unit by a Local Government, authorising that unit to march through the streets of a city on a ceremonial occasion with ‘swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing and colours flying’.
The tradition dates back to medieval times when citizens of walled cities refused to allow entry to armed groups, including troops unless they were sure those arms would not be used against them.
The granting of the Freedom of Entry to the City was a demonstration of the citizens’ trust and confidence in the armed group. In modern times, a Freedom of Entry parade is a symbolic honour often granted to mark an anniversary or significant milestone.
The Maryborough event is being held ahead of the Royal Australian Navy’s decommissioning of the HMAS Maryborough II on 28 September 2023 after 15 years of service to the nation.
As part of the decommissioning, the HMAS Maryborough II will be visiting and docking at the Port of Bundaberg from 1 – 3 September, with the crew visiting Maryborough on 3 September.
Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour encouraged residents to attend the historic event and show their support for the crew of the HMAS Maryborough II.
“As part of the ceremony, I will grant Freedom of Entry and present the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Mitchell Thomas, with an official scroll that the Town Crier will read out,” Cr Seymour said.
“The parade will start near the Cenotaph at 10 am, continue past the Duncan Chapman statue, up Adelaide Street and onto Kent Street before finishing just past City Hall.
“The TS Maryborough cadets will march through the streets with the crew as a supernumerary unit, which means they are temporarily assigned to the ship.
“The Maryborough RSL Highlanders with Pipe Major Hugh McBroom will accompany the parade while there will also be a ‘Challenge’ of entry involving a senior Queensland Police Service representative.
“The Freedom of Entry ceremony promises to be a wonderful occasion full of colourful sights and sounds, so I encourage everyone to come along and get involved.”
HMAS Maryborough II was last granted Freedom of Entry to Maryborough in 2015 as part of the 75th anniversary of the original HMAS Maryborough’s launch.
HMAS Maryborough II is an Armidale Class Patrol Boat that worked with other government agencies as part of the Australian Border Force, focusing on fisheries protection, immigration, customs and drug law enforcement operations.
HMAS Maryborough II has a range of 3000 nautical miles at 12 knots and is equipped with high-definition navigational radar, high and ultra-high frequency communications equipment, gyro compasses and an echo sounder. It has been headquartered in Darwin.
The original HMAS Maryborough was one of sixty Australian Minesweepers built during World War II. It was built by Walkers Ltd in Maryborough and commissioned in 1941, receiving battle honours in the Pacific (1942), the Indian Ocean (1942-44) and Sicily (1943). It was decommissioned in 1945.
Article and image supplied by the Fraser Coast Regional Council
Cover image – The Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum’s Greig Bolderrow with Mayor George Seymour and a replica of HMAS Maryborough’s Bell.