Lismore and Army celebrate 50 years

The steady beat of military drums echoed through Lismore’s streets on Saturday June 22.

CAPTIONLieutenant Colonel Danial Healy, Commanding Officer 41st Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment, prepares to lead the battalion through Lismore as part of the freedom of entry parade. Story by Captain Katy Manning. Photos by Private Peter Mosley.

Soldiers from 41st Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment (41RNSWR), exercised their freedom of entry (FOE) to Lismore as part of the northern NSW city’s Lantern Festival.

The spectacular street march exemplifies the longstanding connection the battalion shares with the Lismore community.

Upholding a tradition that dates back to medieval times, Lismore granted FOE to 41RNSWR in 1972.

While soldiers have marched through Lismore’s streets for more than 50 years, for Army reserve infantryman Private Mitchell Beggs, it was a first.

“Being able to parade through the streets bearing arms is such a privilege,” Private Beggs said.

“Having the population show up like they did, it really added to the sense of community between Army and the city.

“41st Battalion has worked closely with this community for many decades now. Army’s history with the Lismore community dates back 125 years.”

Hundreds of people lined the city’s streets to watch around 100 soldiers march, with the crowd applauding them for their service.

Private Beggs said the highlight for him was “the recognition and acceptance from the people of Lismore and the sense of pride”.

“The Army band also came up from Newcastle, which really tied it together,” he said.

That evening, soldiers carried a lantern during the Lantern Parade – an award-winning annual festival celebrating the winter solstice.

CAPTIONLieutenant Colonel Danial Healy is presented the official freedom of entry certificate by Councillor Steve Kreig, Mayor of Lismore.


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