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HMAS Stirling granted Freedom of Entry to the City of Rockingham in parade event

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Kasey GrattonSound Telegraph
Navy personnel marched through the Rockingham Foreshore precinct, with community members lining the streets to enjoy the spectacle.
Camera IconNavy personnel marched through the Rockingham Foreshore precinct, with community members lining the streets to enjoy the spectacle. Credit: Department of Defence/Navy Imagery Unit - West

The Royal Australian Navy is continuing its close ties with Rockingham after a successful military celebration.

Hundreds of people lined the streets for the Freedom of Entry parade on September 9, hosted by the City of Rockingham for HMAS Stirling.

Commanding Officer Captain Ken Burleigh led about 150 navy personnel in the parade, which is a tradition dating back to medieval times and is the highest accolade a local government can bestow on a military unit.

As part of the formalities, Rockingham Police Sen. Sgt Ian Francis acted as the city marshall and challenged the Stirling’s contingent.

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They were presented with a formal scroll and after being granted entry, marched into the Village Green, saluting mayor Deb Hamblin and Commodore Heath Robertson at the War Memorial before being dismissed.

A defence-themed community festival at Churchill Park followed the parade.

Freedom of Entry was first granted to HMAS Stirling in November 1988 and Captain Burleigh said it was an honour to have it repeated 35 years later.

“We are proud to be a part of the Rockingham community,” he said.

“Being granted Freedom of Entry means a lot to the Navy personnel who serve at HMAS Stirling.”

Ms Hamblin thanked HMAS Stirling and WA Police for their involvement and said the parade would be remembered for years to come.

“Our City has held close ties with HMAS Stirling since the base was commissioned in 1978, and we are proud that thousands of defence personnel call Rockingham home,” she said.

“The parade was a truly special occasion and granting Freedom of Entry to HMAS Stirling was an important step in honouring the longstanding relationship that we share.

“As the base evolves in the years to come, we hope this friendship will continue to grow further.”

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