HMAS Success II will dock in Fremantle for the last time today (March 9), before being decommissioned at Garden Island in June.
To mark the occasion Fremantle council will grant its 220 crew members “Freedom of Entry”, a tradition dating back to medieval times when trusted armies were allowed past fortress walls and into the heart of a city.
These days it takes the form of a ceremonial march through the streets.
HMAS Success II, commissioned in 1986, is still the largest ship ever built on these shores for the Royal Australian Navy.
Since 1990 it has conducted regular security operations in the Middle East, safeguarding Australia’s trade interests.
But the ship also earned the nickname of the navy’s “Ship of Shame” after reports revealed a culture of drunkeness and sexism.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said it was a great privilege to grant “Freedom of Entry” to the HMAS Success II on its last trip to Freo.
“It’s going to be a momentous occasion for Fremantle and I encourage the community to come down and witness this historic march through the city,” he said.
The parade will kick off at 9am at Pioneer Park, then head down Market Street and South Terrace to Fremantle Markets.
by CHARLIE BRAY