Lake Macquarie History

Freedom of the City of Lake Macquarie Awards

Freedom of the City of Lake Macquarie Awards

The right to "The Freedom of the City" is an honour bestowed by a city upon a valued member of the community, or a visiting celebrity or dignitary.

Traditionally, "Freedom of the City" may be granted to units of the Defence Force which have significant attachment to a particular city, or which have earned the city's trust. This status allows the unit the freedom to parade through the city, and is an affirmation of the bond between the soldiers and the citizenry.

Individuals are usually designated "Freemen of the City", while groups such as military units are granted "Freedom of the City" or "Freedom of Entry" to the city.

The ritual arose from the medieval practice of granting respected citizens, or those who had made sacrifice for the city, freedom from servitude and rights not normally afforded ordinary people. In some countries, such as the United States, an ornamental key - the "Key to the City" - is presented in connection with this honour. Although the practise has at its origins the giving of material benefits to recipients, today it is a purely symbolic gesture.

In Australia, whenever such a ceremony is held the Mayor/Lord Mayor officiates and the invitation list generally includes state and federal members of parliament, representatives of the defence force and a cross section of people from the business community.

The Freeman of the City Oath reads:

You swear to be true to Our Sovereign Lord the (Queen or King); you shall be obedient to the Mayor of this ancient City for the time being, obey his warrants, Precepts and Commands. And you shall, as much as lies in your power, contribute and do every act and thing for the good government and safety of the rights and privileges of this ancient City and the inhabitants thereof. So help you God.

(From “Civic Ceremonial” 2nd ed. 1960 p.115/116)

While there is no legislation or other requirement governing the granting of Freedom of the City in either Australia or NSW local government, the English Local Government Act provides guidelines for the admission of Honorary Freeman.

Lake Macquarie Freedom of Entry and Freeman of the City Recipients

Ellen Kilpatrick 22/07/2008 Freeman of the City. Ellen Kilpatrick was the Mayoress of the City of Lake Macquarie from July 1993 to March 2004. During this time, Ellen gave an extraordinary amount of her time for the Council and for the city, supporting her husband John, during his three terms as Mayor.
Donald (Don) Caldwell 22/07/2008 Freeman of the City. Donald Caldwell was Lake Macquarie’s first Chief Town Planner, from the early 1960’s until the beginning of the 1990s. Some of his major contributions were the elevation of Lake Macquarie from a shire to municipality and then to city status, the establishing of the City Art Gallery, promotion of musical interests, establishment of child care services, women’s refuges, public reserve development and recreation promotion (playing fields, surf facilities, boating facilities etc.), the Sister City movement, and much more.
Paul William Harragon 03/08/1999 Freeman of the City
16th Transport Squadron Royal Australian Corps Transport 29/11/1992 Freedom of the City - Freedom of Entry. Freeman of the City. Officer Commanding Major JWD (John) Croxson; Military Liason Officer Captain Greg Batiste, RAE; Ceremony took place at Lyall Peacock Oval, Toronto, at10.00am
HMAS Tobruk 10/08/1991 Freedom of Entry to the City of Lake Macquarie HMAS Tobruk was in Newcastle for a refit and the crew was accommodated for up to 6 months . The Officers were accommodated in Lake Macquarie and during that time took part in community projects including assisting the Stewart School, Valentine and Clean the Lake campaign. Ceremony and Parade was conducted at Charlestown.
Dr Roland Edward Robinson OAM 22/11/1991 Honorary Freeman of the City in recognition of his outstanding talents and contributions to the Australian literary arts
Professor Cyril Renwick OAM 13/03/1985 Honorary Freedom of the City in appreciation and acknowledgement of his services to the Hunter region in the field of research
Reginald Lenaghan OAM 21/12/1987 Honorary Freeman of the City in recognition of his lengthy service to the Council and residents of the CityCouncillor, Alderman and President of the Shire 1959-1987
Albert George (Alby) Burgin 29/07/1987 Honorary Freedom of the City of Lake Macquarie in recognition of his services to sailing and further that AG Burgin be admitted as a Freeman of the City
Harold Keith Cumming 14/07/1986 Honorary Freedom of the City in recognition of his services as Town Clerk to the Shire, Municipality and City of Lake Macquarie from 1968 to 1986 and further that HK Cumming be admitted as Honorary Freeman of the City
14 Field Squadron Royal Australian Engineers 30/11/1982 Squadron was invited to enter the Municipality. The unit had been called upon to participate in numerous community projects.


Bolin, F. D. (Frederich Dorcen) & Bolin, F. D. (Frederich Dorcen), 1906- 1972 Civic ceremonial and protocol in Australia, Law Book Co. and Hicks Smith, Sydney

Acknowledgement of Country

We remember and respect the Ancestors who cared for and nurtured this Country. It is in their footsteps that we travel these lands and waters. Lake Macquarie City Council acknowledges the Awabakal people and Elders past, present and future.

Council acknowledges traditional custodians throughout Australia. We commit to listening deeply to and collaborating with First Peoples in our work.

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