25 September 2023

Australian Army Band Kapooka to be granted Freedom of the City by Wagga Council

| Jarryd Rowley
Start the conversation
Australian Army Band Kapooka Freedom of the City

The Australian Army Band Kapooka will be honouring their granting of the Freedom of the City by performing an exercise and a concert open to the public at the Victory Memorial Gardens on 15 October. Photo: Jarryd Rowley

The Australian Army Band Kapooka has been awarded the Freedom of the City by Wagga Wagga City Council, making it only the 16th recipient of the prestigious award since 1957.

The Freedom of the City is the highest honour a city can confer on an individual or military unit.

To mark the special occasion, the Australian Army Band Kapooka will be marching down Baylis Street as part of a formal parade on 15 October at 10:30 am, which will include a formal granting of the FOC to the band outside the civic centre.

The band will then head to the Victory Memorial Gardens where their rock band will perform a free community ‘Hour of Power’ concert.

READ ALSO Riverina Rewind: Wagga watched its movies at The Strand – until its fiery end

Officer Commanding and Music Director, Australian Army Band Kapooka, Major Greg Peterson said the band was “deeply honoured” to be granted the Freedom of Entry to the City of Wagga Wagga.

“The Australian Army Band Kapooka performs up to 300 official engagements for both military and community audiences every year,” Major Peterson said.

“Partnering with local charities is just one example of the impact of our community engagement.

“On average, the band raises around $10,000 per year, with funds going directly to a wide range of local and regional charities.”

Wagga Wagga City Mayor Dallas Tout (right) said it was an easy decision for the council to make. Photo: Jarryd Rowley

The Kapooka band was previously awarded the Freedom of the City in 2009; however, the honour was rescinded due to a renaming and restructuring of the band in 2012.

Wagga Wagga Mayor Dallas Tout said the decision to award the band with the honour was an obvious one, stating the band is part of the DNA of the city.

“Awarding the band was something we didn’t even need to think about,” Mr Tout said.

“The Australian Army Band Kapooka is something I’ve always thought as either the army owns the band or the city owns the band; it’s a shared entity, the amount of work that they do.”

Major Peterson said having a granting and an exercise is a very rare occurrence and something that dates back to the 1670s.

READ ALSO Riverina Rewind: Wagga’s Light Horsemen remembered

“The actual customs and traditions of the granting of Freedom of City date back to the 16th century to the time of King Charles II,” he said.

“It’s not something that is very common and is quite special. We would really like a lot of people to come out to witness it.”

Cr Tout and Major Peterson are encouraging all members of the public to attend the special event, describing the occasion as something unlike anything else.

“It’s something you will not see every day and we’re not sure when it will happen next,” Mr Tout said.

“It’s a nod to the band for their 70 years of service to the community. It would be really nice to see as many people as possible come down and express their gratitude to them and the work that they have done entertaining and supporting this city.”

The Freedom of Entry to the City ceremony will be held on Sunday, 15 October, from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm at Baylis St & Victory Memorial Gardens.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Want the best Riverina news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riverina stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.