Huon Valley News

A day of celebration: crew of HMAS Huon come to town

“Freedom of Entry” is the highest honour a town can grant a military unit, and on Saturday 4 May 2024, it happened.

The crew of HMAS Huon, together with the Navy band, marched through Huonville’s Main Street, lined with family, friends and community supporters.

The ship’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Rodney Weeks, is a local to the Huon Valley, having grown up in the area and attended both Huonville Primary and High Schools.

It was an incredibly special occasion for him, and before leading his crew in the march, Lieutenant Commander Rodney Weeks laid a wreath at the Huonville Cenotaph.

Her Excellency the Honourable Barbara Baker AC, Governor of Tasmania, inspected the procession before they set off.

With swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating and colours flying, the parade marched forward from Heron Street to Main Street. The crowd was waiting in anticipation and cheered them on until they met Tasmania Police Constable Chris Cheeseman who issued the “challenge”. Once satisfied that the challenge had been met, by inspecting the official scroll issued by Mayor Sally Doyle granting Freedom of Entry into the town, the procession continued to Huonville Town Hall.

After marching out the colours, the procession gathered in front of Council Chambers for the official photo, along with Her Excellency, Constable Cheeseman and Deputy Mayor Thorpe.

The community were eagerly gathered and enjoyed the opportunity to talk with the crew once all formalities were concluded.

A Civic Reception took place shortly after at the Huonville RSL, where speeches were made, and acknowledgements and thanks given.

A special guest at the event was Huon Valley local, Betty Norris, who commissioned the ship in 1999 – it was honour to have her in attendance.

The HMAS Huon will be decommissioned at the end of this month, after a successful 25-year life at sea detecting mines.

Welcoming the crew and having them visit our Valley was a truly special occasion for all involved!