From 2.15pm to 2.50pm on Saturday, September 21st, preceding the 2019 Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Grand Central Floral Parade, a Freedom of Entry ceremony and parade took place.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio acted as Host Officer. Present was Major General Kathryn Campbell AO, CSC, (on right) Commander 2nd Division, accompanied by Commander Mitchell Livingstone, CSC – Commanding Officer HMAS Toowoomba, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Mudie – Commanding Officer 7th Signal Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Bryce Hertslet – Commanding Officer 25th/49th Battalion, The Royal Queensland Regiment and Colonel Eamon Barton – Commandant Army Aviation Training Centre and Parade Commander, Parade Regimental Sergeant Major Warrant Officer Class One Mark Gaskell OAM, the Harlaxton RSL Brass Band (including members of the Harlaxton RSL Band, Toowoomba Brass Band and Amberley Brass Band), respective regimental soldiers and sailors. (Around 100-150 representatives in the parade, including a small contingent from HMAS Toowoomba, which is preparing for a deployment)
The tradition of Freedom of Entry to a city, municipality or shire originates from a custom observed by British regiments in marching through the City of London. The City Fathers claimed that they had the right to forbid groups of armed troops from marching through the city precincts with bayonets fixed, colours flying and music playing. This claim was based on a ‘privilege’ which appears to have originated shortly after Charles II became King in 1660.
The privilege is extended only to military organisations which have had a close association with the city, municipality or shire in question. Once a Defence Force organisation has been granted the Freedom of Entry, that Defence Force organisation then has that right to exercise the freedom to march. This is usually done on significant occasions for not only the Defence Force, but also for the city, municipality or shire for which they hold the Freedom of Entry.
The Freedom of Entry parade (for officers, soldiers and sailors from HMAS Toowoomba; 7th Signal Regiment; 25th/49th Battalion, The Royal Queensland Regiment and the Army Aviation Training Centre) was challenged by Darling Downs Police District Superintendent Mark Kelly in Herries Street before the parade was reviewed by Mayor Paul Antonio in Herries Street fronting St Luke’s Church.
Mayor Antonio received a General Salute from the parade as the band played Duke of York prior to the inspection, followed by a flyover by the Army Aviation Training Centre before an address by Mayor Antonio. Following a General Salute for the Reviewing Officer (Mayor) and Host Officer (Major General Kathryn Campbell AO CSC), the parade prepared to march along the Carnival parade route conductin an Eyes Right as they passed City Hall, paying their respects to the Mayor and the City of Toowoomba.
(Toowoomba Regional Council granted a Freedom of Entry parade to HMAS Toowoomba officers and crew in June 2015).