HMAS Maitland

Freedom of Entry to the City Granted to HMAS Maitland


 "HMAS Maitland of the Royal Australian Navy steers into Newcastle port"

“Mayor Peter Blackmore presents the Freedom of Entry Scroll to Lieutenant Commander David Graham.”

“The HMAS Maitland crew marches down High Street"

Following the naming of the ARMIDALE class Patrol Boat ‘HMAS Maitland’ in May this year, the commissioning of the boat and other associated activities took place on the 29th and 30th of September 2006.

Maitland is the first Royal Australian Navy vessel to bear the name Maitland.  She is named for the city of Maitland in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales.

The commissioning of the boat took place in Newcastle on the evening of Friday 29th September, at a private ceremony and function.   

On Saturday 30th September the community had an opportunity to celebrate the commissioning, when the crew were granted Freedom of Entry to the City of Maitland.   The granting of Freedom of Entry is one of the City’s highest honours and it was an historic event for Maitland.

The granting of Freedom of Entry to a city stems from a medieval tradition, and involved a parade of the ‘HMAS Maitland’ crew, at 10.30am in Maitland Mall.  Maitland Mayor, Peter Blackmore presented a scroll to the crew, granting them their rights within the city.

From here, the crew  marched up High Street (accompanied by the naval band) to exercise their rights, 'with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing, colours flying and in full panoply or regalia'

The parade also included the efforts of the police, and concluded with a guard of honour being formed by the 234 cadet unit, and a salute by Rear Admiral Davyd Thomas (Maritime Commander), accompanied by the Mayor.  

Invited guests had the opportunity to attend a civic function, which was followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the cenotaph in Maitland Park at 1.30pm.



HMAS Freedom of Entry Program 

Freedom of Entry

In medieval times throughout Europe, the various land owning nobles maintained independent companies of armed men.  Often there were disputes and tension between them and the threat of occupation or attack and looting was ever present.  Hence, whenever armed bodies travelled the countryside they were rarely admitted to the environs of other cities.  However, in special cases, often for mutual protection between related nobles, some bodies of armed men were allowed the special privilege of freedom of entry to the city 'with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, bands playing, colours flying and in full panoply or regalia'.

Freedom of Entry to the City signified the true bonds of friendship and often the expectation that the armed body on whom the honour was be stowed would assist in the defence of the city.

Freedom of Entry Scroll 

HMAS Maitland

The ARMIDALE Class Patrol Boat has been designed and developed to replace the FREMANTLE Class which had been in service for 25 years.  The new Patrol Boats will be able to operate in a greater range of sea conditions and be deployed for longer. The design and surveillance technology incorporated in the boat is state of the art and will enable it to operate anywhere around the Australian coast for extended periods.  The ships will be manned by a crew of 23. 

By naming the ships after Australian cities and towns, the Navy hopes to build on existing links and encourage a close association between the Navy and the local communities in these areas, as well as, gaining wide acceptance by former Navy personnel. 
HMAS Maitland is the sixth Armidale Class Patrol Boat (ACPB) built by Austal Ships in Perth, Western Australia. These are part of a $553 million contract signed in December 2003 between the Federal Government and Defence Maritime Services. The ACPB is one of the most advanced platforms of its kind in the world.

Maitland is the first RAN vessel to bear the name Maitland. There was however, a previous HMAS Maitland, being a World War II Naval Establishment in Newcastle. She is named for the city of Maitland in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales.

Click on the link below to visit The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) site, which includes a section on the ARMIDALE Class Patrol Boats.

The coat of arms designed for HMAS Maitland is based on the City of Maitland Coat of Arms.

The design incorporates one of the Egrets, the Hunters Bow and the Blue Barry Wavy (wavy lines) from the Escutcheon (shield) of the Arms.

The Egret is allusive to the birds of the low lands surrounding the city and is gorged with a golden mural crown, which reflects the status of the City. The Hunters Bow and the Blue Barry Wave represent the Hunter River, which bisects the City.

The Purpure (purple) background represents the Wine Industry, which is one of the major well-known industries from Maitland and the Hunter region.


Official Motto: Maitland City Council’s official motto ‘JUSTITIA ET FORTITUDO INVINC IBILIA SUNT’, broadly interpreted as ‘Justice and Fortitude are Invincible’ provides the basis from which HMAS Maitland derives its motto of ‘INVINCIBLE’. The motto symbolises the link between the spirit of the Maitland community and the Royal Australian Navy in rising above adversity and fostering progress.


Facts Sheets

Type ARMIDALE Class Patrol Boat
Displacement  300 tonnes
Length  56.8 metres
Beam 9.5 metres
Draught 2.25 metres
Builder Austal, Fremantle
Machinery 2 x MTU 16 V 4000 M10 Diesels, 2 x Shafts
Power 2 x 2320kW (2 x 3110 hp)
Speed 25 knots

1 x 25mm cannon
2 x 12.7mm heavy duty machine guns

Complement 21 (+ austere accommodation for 20)