Freedom of the City for RAAF

BIG BEAST: A RAAF Hercules above the skies of Ipswich.
BIG BEAST: A RAAF Hercules above the skies of Ipswich.

IN JUNE, 1990, the Freedom of the City of Ipswich was claimed by RAAF personnel in a colourful ceremony in Brisbane St.

This was one of the ceremonies to mark the 50th anniversary of Amberley.

The men and women of Amberley were given the right to march through Ipswich with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating and bands playing, with colour flying.

Granting freedom of entry to a city was commenced in the time of the walled towns of Britain and Europe.

The walls protected the city from marauding armies and the citizens rarely allowed anyone to enter.

When the city's leaders did grant permission for armed men to enter, it was a rare privilege and was usually accompanied by ceremonies in which the citizens demonstrated their trust in the troops.

The Freedom of the City was first granted to the RAAF base on June 17, 1970, and it has claimed its privilege only twice - once in 1975 and again in 1988.

Flags to be carried in the parade included the 3AD Queen's Colours: the standards 1.6 and 23 squadrons and 114 MCRU (Mobile Control and Reporting Unit) and 482 squadron Governor General's Banner.

A new RAAF main entrance for the Amberley Base was officially opened on July 4, 1990.

Spokesman for the base, Flight-Lieutenant Danni McPhail, said the new entrance was adjacent to No.3 aircraft depot.

Chief of Staff Air Marshall Sir Raymond Funnell officiated at the opening and a Queen's Colours parade was to be held.

AGILE: An Iroquois helicopter is put through its paces.
AGILE: An Iroquois helicopter is put through its paces.


On June 17, 1940, Amberley commenced operations as a RAAF Base, with the formation of station headquarters and No.24 (general purpose) Squadron. Squadron Leader SAC Campbell appointed temporary station Commander, Commander and Commanding Officer No24 Squadron.

Total strength at the time was four officers in station HQ, six officers in 24 Squadron, together with 33 airmen.

On July 4, the first aircraft arrived on the base. It was a Moth Minor of No24 Squadron and on July 19, the first Wirraway aircraft came.


Mr George Vowles gave an address to the Ipswich citizens in around 1914 and mentioned that in 1843 the first land sale of this area was held on October 11, the anniversary of his birth.

He mentioned that at about that time, his father had arrived in Limestone and it was said he was the first white man married here, and George had the honour of being the first native white child.

George was born "on the site of the Girls' Central School”, where it abutted on Bell St and it was a singular circumstance that his wife was, for some years, headmistress at that school.

With the coming of a small steamer which plied between Brisbane and Ipswich, the town folk wondered if at a later date the river communications were enough and they bitterly opposed the extension of the railway to Brisbane.

Mr Vowles made his debut as a controversial writer aged 17 years.

Later, for a short time, he became assistance school teacher to John Scott and the chair of The Observer which became the afternoon edition of the Brisbane Courier.

Separation from New South Wales was naturally the forerunner of municipal government.

There was a powerful opposition in Ipswich in its inception in the belief that the innovation would lead to the retardation of progress in Ipswich.

However, better counsels prevailed and the general and popular John Murphy became the first mayor.

With separation, Ipswich entered the political history of Australia.


In an address at the Ipswich Workshops on February 14, 1935, on electric light charges, the minister for public instruction.

F.A. Cooper said the Ipswich City Council lost its opportunity in 1932 to take over the system.

It would be another 10 years before another chance would come but, if the signs of the times were to be read, developments before then would be so rapid that the Ipswich City Council would not need to consider the question.

If the commission report were at variance with the company's new rates, the possibility of litigation would arise.

He understood, however, that apart from the abolition of minimum rates, the company was prepared to restore meters.

Topics:  beryl johnston history opinion times past

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