Maitland Farewells its Naval Namesake During Final Freedom of Entry
Around 25 officers and sailors from HMAS Maitland will parade through the streets of Central Maitland from 10.00am on Saturday 2 April, during the vessel’s final Freedom of Entry march before being decommissioned at the end of April.
The ceremonial march will celebrate the vessel’s long association with the City of Maitland, which stretches back to when it was first commissioned and the inaugural Freedom of Entry to Maitland in September 2006.
Mayor of Maitland Philip Penfold says it is ‘an honour to welcome the crew of HMAS Maitland to the streets of Maitland once again’.
‘Events like the Freedom of Entry are our way of saying thank you to the HMAS Maitland for its service to our country.
‘It is with great pride that I grant the Freedom of Entry to the men and women of HMAS Maitland.
‘I hope that the citizens of Maitland join us in lining the streets and honouring them once more before the Navy decommissions the vessel next month.’
Lieutenant Commander Jeremy Evain, Royal Australian Navy Commanding Officer HMAS Maitland, says ‘being granted the right to exercise Freedom of Entry by the City of Maitland is more than just a ceremonial practice.
‘The occasion reinforces the Royal Australian Navy’s connection to the broader community along with being employed to maintain sovereignty and security in Australia’s region’.
Members of the HMAS Maitland will form up in The Levee’s Shared Zone at 10.00am, and will march along The Levee/High Street until they are challenged by the local commanding officer of NSW Police at the junction of High, Hunter and Victoria streets.
The march will then resume, under police escort, towards Maitland Town Hall, concluding at the Maitland Regional Art Gallery.
A full closure will be in place in The Levee, corner of High and Bulwer Street, High Street to Dransfield Lane, corner of High Street and Bourke Street, Preschool Lane and Drill Hall Lane between 8.00am and 11.00am.
There will be rolling road closures in place from Ken Tubman Drive through to Devonshire Street inclusive of side streets between 10.00am and 11.00am.
Local residents and visitors to Maitland are encouraged to come along, see the march and offer their support to the crew of HMAS Maitland.
For more information, visit www.maitlandevents.com.au/freedom-of-entry
Granting Freedom of Entry to a military unit is a symbolic honour dating back to medieval times that gives the right of general entry to the unit to march on ceremonial occasions. It signifies friendship and comes with the expectation that the crew would assist in defence of the city.
HMAS Maitland is one of thirteen Armidale Class Patrol Boats based in Darwin, Northern Territory and along with two Cape Class Patrol Boats are the Navy’s principal contribution to the nation’s fisheriesprotection, immigration, customs, and drug law enforcement operations. HMAS Maitland has a range of 3,000 nautical miles at 12 knots and a maximum speed of about 25 knots.