6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment 50th Anniversary and Freedom of Entry to the City of Brisbane Civic Reception
I too acknowledge our Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress and all elected representatives, the Chief of Army and other senior members of the Defence Forces, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honour and pleasure to participate in this ceremony.
The sight of the 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment exercising its Freedom of Entry to the City of Brisbane, colours flying and drums beating, thanks to the excellent music provided of the Band of the 1st Regiment RAR, was impressive and stirring.
Centuries ago, the sight of armed groups marching through city streets might have caused unease among citizens. Indeed, the ceremony and protocols observed today were designed to ensure that only friendly military units were granted the privilege.
Over time, the granting of Freedom of Entry to a city has become a means of honouring military units with a distinguished record and close ties to the city in question. In the case of Brisbane, 6RAR meets these criteria many times over.
The Battalion has seen distinguished service in fields of conflict including Vietnam, Timor Leste, Iraq and Afghanistan. And the sight of 6RAR personnel arriving to provide emergency relief at scenes of flood disasters in many places in our State – not only Brisbane but also the Lockyer Valley, Roma, Mitchell and St George – has been cause for relief, reassurance and gratitude.
The Battalion is an exemplar of the proud traditions of Australia’s armed forces and, indeed, of Queensland’s military tradition, which reaches back to the formation of the first troop of mounted rifles in Brisbane in 1860.
In this year of the centenary of Gallipoli, and the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, we are reminded even more forcefully of the courage and sacrifice of our armed forces.
As Governor, and on behalf of the people of Queensland, I join the Lord Mayor in congratulating 6RAR on its golden jubilee, and thanking the Battalion for its service to the people of Australia and, in particular, Queensland, during that half century.
I wish the Battalion every success in carrying on its proud traditions and its record of distinguished service.