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Freedom of Entry 3RAR

10/September/2021
Lt Col Gerard Kearns, Cl Donna Marbelli, DCSL President Greg Matheson, RJL Treasurer Bob Hodge, State Member for Hinchinbrook Nick Dametto, ex 3RAR member Barry Fullard, Wo1 Adam West.

Commanding Officer 3RAR Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Kearns met with the leadership of the Hinchinbrook area to ask for Freedom of Entry to Hinchinbrook for the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR). This request was met with tears of joy from Barry Fullard, a former 3RAR member, and excitement from the rest of the panel as they considered the support for local teenagers and the community as a whole that hosting army combat training on local farms in the Hinchinbrook area could provide to the local area.

Now that the request for Freedom of Entry for the 3RAR has been formally made, the Hinchinbrook Council will consider it at the next Council meeting on September 28.

Hinchinbrook Council Mayor Ramon Jayo is currently feeling excited at the potential opportunities building a further relationship with the Army will provide.

“The response I have observed from Councillors has been positive. I am excited that Hinchinbrook was considered for this opportunity. We already have a strong relationship with the Army, but this is an opportunity to further build our relationship with the Army.”

“Every two years the Army send their students from the School of Infantry to complete exercises in Hinchinbrook.”

“I can’t predict what is going to happen at the meeting, but if the Council votes in the affirmative, I believe it will be positive for the community.”

The most recent expedition completed in Ingham was the Talisman Sabre 2021; Exercise TS21. The Hinchinbrook Council thanked the community for the spirit of generosity and welcome they showed the troops during this exercise.

The members of the community and their visitors who were fishing near Forrest Beach, Ingham, in August may have witnessed the landing craft from Her Majesty’s Australian Ships’ Canberra and Choules ferrying troops to shore as part of the exercise.

They may also have witnessed an assault that began at dawn Friday, July 30, with an amphibious landing at Cassady Beach, Ingham. Armoured Vehicles such as the Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV), and Protected Mobility Vehicles, both light and medium, as well as many trucks and other assorted vehicles disembarked off the ships. 

Lines of soldiers and vehicles departed the beach as they moved towards the Victoria Mill at approximately 9.30am, then on to Ingham, before seizing the airfield at the Ingham Airport.

The advance towards the Airfield and Ingham was supported from the sky by Bell AH-1Z Viper (US), UH-1Y Venom (US), and Attack Recon Helicopters Tigers (Australian).

Saturday, July 31, saw the Australian Defence Force personnel put on a community Meet and Greet at the Ingham Showgrounds, as part of Exercise TS21. There were opportunities for locals to meet various personnel and plenty of activities for the children.

The public feedback to the Hinchinbrook Council after this exercise was overwhelmingly positive and, if this feedback is any indication of community sentiment for Australia’s Armed Forces, then the Hinchinbrook community will be looking forward to an acceptance of the request for entry.

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