HMAS Ararat II crew to visit next month for Freedom of Entry to the City ceremony | Video

HISTORIC: Ararat RSL president Frank Neulist with the HMAS Ararat display. Pictures: Peter Pickering
HISTORIC: Ararat RSL president Frank Neulist with the HMAS Ararat display. Pictures: Peter Pickering

The HMAS Ararat II crew will return to the city to receive Freedom of Entry to the City next month.

Ararat Rural City Council acting mayor Gwenda Allgood said it will be a special time for the community.

“I think it would be a great thing for the city,” she said.

“I have never seen one of these ceremonies, so I am looking forward to all the celebrations.

“These sorts of things don’t come along everyday and I think Ararat has always had a fair old involvement with the navy.”

The HMAS Ararat II crew during its visit in 2017.

The HMAS Ararat II crew during its visit in 2017.

Cr Allgood said it was a priority for the council to approve for 2018 with the date holding special significance.

The ceremony will take place on June 16 which coincides with the 75th anniversary of the HMAS Ararat I being commissioned in Brisbane.

Ararat RSL president Frank Neulist said he was glad to see all the planning pay off and the ceremony confirmation.

“This is a mostly municipal ran event, the RSL is there to support them but most of the planning has been done by Leah Heinrich at the council,” he said.

“There is a meeting next week and we should have an update on the specific plans of the event after that.

“I am really happy, because this will put Ararat on the map.

“This will showcase Ararat after some negative publicity in recent times, people need to see there are some positive things happening.

“Last year they had to leave some crew back in Darwin, it is looking like they will bring the whole crew this time and it changes every three months, so former crew members may also attend.”

Ararat has historic connections with the Royal Australian Navy, including HMAS Ararat II crew member Caitlin Stewart who went to school in the city.

Mr Neulist said David and Colin Frampton were also naval officers who came from Ararat with the latter a chief petty officer on HMAS Brisbane which will be commissioned later this year.

Mr Neulist said the personal connections to the town adds to the occasion.

“It is good to have people that have served before and that adds significance to it.

“I just hope the community throws its support behind it, it will be a Saturday so no excuse not to be around.”

Further details will be announced in the coming weeks.