Freedom of Entry will be a piece of Ararat history

Sam Shalders

Posted Tuesday 5 June, 05:05pm

Details have been finalised for the arrival of the crew from HMAS Ararat II and the Freedom of Entry ceremony which will form the centrepiece of the historic visit.

A procession of approximately 25 crew members will take place through Ararat on Saturday, June 16 with a special performance from the Australian Navy Band one of the many highlights.

The Edith Cavell Reserve will be the starting point of the march from 1.30pm, which will make its way down Barkly Street and past the War Memorial, concluding at the Ararat RSL at approximately 2pm.

The Ararat Rural City Council Mayor will play an important part in the ceremony, required to grant the crew Freedom of Entry during the procession – a tradition dating back to mediaeval times.

Ararat Rural City Council Acting Mayor, Cr Gwenda Allgood said granting permission to a body of armed men and women to enter a city was a mark of trust and confidence.

“This is a long held tradition of the armed services in our country,” Cr Allgood said.

“The granting of Freedom of Entry is the highest accolade a city can bestow upon a group from the army or navy and it’s not something that is readily won or lightly given today more than it was centuries ago.

“There will be a ceremonial scroll presented to the Commanding Officer of HMAS Ararat II, Lieutenant Fiona Simmonds in the middle of Barkly Street as well as lots of pomp and ceremony and great music from the Australian Navy band.

“This is a rare opportunity to see a Freedom of Entry ceremony and a piece of Ararat history, which I encourage our community to come along and support.”

Barkly Street from Vincent St to Queen St, and in Queen Street from Barkly St to High St will be closed to traffic for approximately one and a half hours on the day.

The rest of Barkly Street will remain open (similar to during the Anzac Day parade) with a rolling road closure from View Point to Vincent Street, as the Northern Grampians Highway Patrol escort the front and back of the procession.