IN a tradition that dates back to medieval times officers and sailors from HMAS Ballarat marched along Sturt Street on Sunday after exercising their right to enter the streets. In 2004 HMAS Ballarat received the keys to the City of Ballarat in her first Freedom of Entry march on 2 December 2004; Sunday was only the second time that this right was exercised. City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Des Hudson welcomed the crew and said the City values the honour and attaches great importance to the strong and enduring relationship. “As Mayor of the City of Ballarat I was proud and moved that members o the ship’s company joined local Anzac Day commemorations here in Ballarat this year,” he said. “Officers and crew are generous with their time and support of charities and organisations in Ballarat and an ongoing commitment to our community is very much appreciated. “Freedom of Entry is a long held tradition and one we don’t see too often.” Recent months have been busy for the ship and crew with the completion of the anti-ship missile defense upgrade and undertaken associated sea qualification trials and other maritime exercises.
“The City of Ballarat has watched from afar with great pride and interest as the HMAS Ballarat has travelled the word for the past twelve years,” Cr Hudson said.
“We are extremely proud of the men and women of HMAS Ballarat who serve our country with very fine distinction.”
On Friday evening the Mayor and a number of Councillors were guests on board HMAS Ballarat and all were impressed by the hospitality and tour of the ship. In conclusion Cr Hudson addressed the crew by saying, “it’s been an honour to grant you freedom of entry to our city, once again, you are always welcome and thank you very much for taking the time to be in our great city. We wish you all the very best.”