Hundreds to march in Freedom of Entry military parade through Albany

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Lance Corporal Hayden Spaanderman 11/28 Batallion RWAR.
Camera IconLance Corporal Hayden Spaanderman 11/28 Batallion RWAR. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

More than 200 army personnel will parade through the heart of Albany tomorrow in a traditional Freedom of Entry ceremony honouring the city’s strong links to Australia’s military history.

Cities can grant the right to Freedom of Entry to military units, authorising the unit to freely march through the streets to mark ceremonial occasions.

Seven military units have been granted Freedom of Entry to the City of Albany, the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a military unit by a local government.

Soldiers and armoured vehicles from the 11th/28th Battalion of the Royal Western Australian Regiment will exercise their right this weekend after being granted the honour in 1987.

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The ceremony will be loud and proud, with a parade along Stirling Terrace and York Street.

The contingent will gather at Anzac Peace Park for the official ceremony, including a salute to citizens and an address from Mayor Dennis Wellington.

The unit will continue up Grey Street East and Spencer Street before returning to the army depot on Brunswick Street.

The battalion’s commanding officer, Lt-Col Anthony Cattai said the ceremony strengthened the historical ties between the army and Albany.

“More than a century ago, Anzacs left from Albany for Gallipoli — today our soldiers are army reservists drawn from Perth to Albany and are heirs to that great generation,” he said.

“Many of us marching through Albany have deployed on overseas military operations, and closer to home we served our community on domestic operations during the recent bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.”

Mr Wellington said it was an honour to bestow this tradition once again.

“Both the 11th and 28th Battalions undertook extensive service throughout the Great War, starting with Gallipoli and later on the Western Front, with great distinction and achievement,” Mr Wellington said.

“Freedom of Entry into a city by military units is a long-standing tradition that dates back to ancient Rome, so it is with great tribute that we are able to honour this distinction onto the 11th/28th Battalion in 2020.”

The Freedom of Entry parade will begin at 2.45pm on Stirling Terrace.

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