Men and women in military uniforms march down street.

Crew members from two ships, the USS Canberra and HMAS Canberra, will parade through city streets on Sunday, 23 July.

18 July 2023

This Sunday, 23 July, members of the Royal Australian Navy and the United States Navy will parade through the city as part of the commissioning of USS Canberra, a US Navy warship.

The ceremonial event will see 100 members of USS Canberra and 100 members of HMAS Canberra march from Veteran’s Park to the National Convention Centre.

Freedom of Entry parade and the ‘Challenge’

A Freedom of Entry parade is a military tradition that symbolises trust and loyalty between a city and a unit. The event also celebrates the connection between a ship and its namesake city.

Commencing at 10am, crew members will be led by USS Canberra’s Commanding Officer, Commander Bobby Barber, from Veteran’s Park in the City, down Northbourne Avenue, along London Circuit, onto Constitution Avenue and conclude at the National Convention Centre.

A key part of a Freedom of Entry ceremony is the ‘Challenge’ of entry. ACT’s Chief Police Officer, Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan APM, will issue the Challenge to the Commanding Officer of USS Canberra, Commander Bobby Barber.

Spectator information

Canberrans wishing to view the parade and the Challenge can head to Civic Square. There, ACT Chief Police Officer will issue the Challenge and review the parade, before allowing entrance to the city.

  • What: Freedom of Entry parade for USS Canberra, a US Naval ship
  • Where: Civic Square, London Circuit
  • When: From 10am, Sunday 23 July

Map of parade route

Travel impacts and road closures

This event will include some short rolling road closures. Please pay attention to signage and the directions of traffic controllers and ACT Policing.

Intersections and traffic lights along the route will be affected temporarily and will be reopened as soon as the march passes through. Each road will be closed for no longer than 10 minutes.

The USS Canberra, a United States Navy war ship

The United States Navy has commissioned a new ship, the USS Canberra, which is the only American naval vessel named after a city outside the United States, and the second US Navy ship to bear the namesake of Canberra.

The commissioning of a new USS Canberra, and the Freedom of Entry in Canberra, represents the depth of historical ties and the modern-day partnership between the Royal Australian Navy and the US Navy.

The USS Canberra is a 125-metre long littoral combat ship (LCS), armed with guns and missiles, and capable of carrying helicopters. Designed to operate close to shore, the LCS vessels are capable of countering submarines, mines, and small enemy craft.

The first USS Canberra was built in 1941 and originally known as the USS Pittsburgh. It was renamed USS Canberra on 15 October 15 1942.

It was renamed at the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in honour of HMAS Canberra, for the ship’s courageous actions during the Battle of Savo Island between 7-9 August 1942.

War ship in ocean
The USS Canberra

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