What you can expect when the Navy comes to town

A tradition stretching back to medieval times will continue on the streets of Caloundra this weekend and the community is invited to watch.

816 Squadron of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) will exercise its Freedom of Entry to the city of Caloundra, at the Kings Beach Amphitheatre, on Saturday, November 12, from 9.30am.

More than 100 members of 816 Squadron, the Royal Australian Navy Band, Fleet Air Arm Association and Cadets from local units will be in attendance. A flypast by the MH-60-R helicopter will take place at 10.05am and again at 10.35am.

Spectators are encouraged to stand on the grassed area at the top end of Kings Beach Park. The march will proceed up Edmund Street, turning right into the car park adjacent to Burgess Street.

The 816 Squadron will stop and be challenged by Queensland Police Service Inspector Jason Overland, who will then welcome 816 Squadron into the city.

The march will continue around the park and enter from Edmund Street to stop in front of the Amphitheatre where Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson, Commanding Officer 816 Squadron Commander Lee Pritchard and Caloundra RSL Sub Branch President Heather Christie will conduct speeches.

Mayor Jamieson said the ceremonial march and challenge, in full military regalia, recognised a mutual dependency between the military and the community.

“The Freedom of Entry is the most honourable distinction a city can bestow on a contingent of the Australian Defence Force,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“It is an event which happens approximately every five years, to renew the Friendship agreement between Caloundra and the Navy’s 816 Squadron.

“This year marks the 26th anniversary of 816 Squadron’s acceptance of the right to exercise Freedom of Entry to the city of Caloundra.

“The tradition of military units exercising Freedom of Entry to a city dates back to medieval times when citizens were wary about who they allowed within their walled cities bearing arms.

“Only units that were especially trusted were granted the right to parade through their cities bearing arms.

“We don’t have walls around Caloundra but we have enormous trust in our Royal Australian Navy personnel and all of our Armed Services.”

The former Caloundra City Council first bestowed Freedom of Entry rights in 1996. The Squadron has exercised its rights to march into Caloundra on several occasions since.

“We cherish the relationship that has grown between the Sunshine Coast, and Caloundra in particular, and the 816 Squadron,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“They also maintain close ties with Caloundra through attending annual Anzac Day celebrations.”

The 816 Squadron forms a part of the Fleet Air Arm and commissioned in its current guise on 23 July 1992 with 16 Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawks.

Since 2016 it operates 12 MH-60R helicopters. The squadron currently has six Romeo Seahawks embarked in RAN ships supporting Fleet operations around the world.

The squadron provides the primary embarked maritime combat helicopter capability within the fleet.

816 Squadron Freedom of Entry Ceremony, Saturday 12 November, 2022

Time and venue

10:00am – Parade begins on Edmund St next to Kings Beach

Amphitheatre parade will continue to march around the amphitheatre

10:05am – Helicopter flypast over amphitheatre West to East

10:30am – Parade enters into Kings Park Amphitheatre

10:38am – Helicopter flypast over amphitheatre North to South

10:40am – Speeches by Mayor, Commanding Officer 816SQN and RSL President

11:00am – Parade concludes

Road closures: Temporary road closures will be in effect at De Vene Avenue from 8am to midday and Ormonde Terrace between Edmund Street and the Headland Esplanade from 8am to midday.

No Parking areas: Parking restrictions will apply to Kings Beach Amphitheatre car park from 6am to midday and access to the car park between Edmund Street and De Vene Avenue. Access to the car park will be available via Edmund Street entrance.

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