Honorary Freeman and Freedom of Entry

What is an Honorary Freeman?

The Honorary Freeman of the City award is the highest honour a Council can bestow upon an individual. It is a title given only in rare and exceptional circumstances to those who have made an outstanding and exceptional contribution to the community.

The award recognises the outstanding achievements and dedicated service to the local community over many years, either through Council or community groups such as charities or sporting and recreational clubs.

Eligibility criteria, nomination procedures and the full Honorary Freeman policy 

History of the Award

The traditional honour of a Freeman of the City dates back to English medieval times. It is derived from a historic English custom where Freemen paid fees to local Boroughs, which entitled them to trade in the City. The Freeman was also allowed other special privileges, such as the right to sit on town councils and to elect parliamentary representatives.

The tradition still lives on in countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand – although today the title of "freeman" confers no special privileges.

City of Busselton Award Recipients

Hon Barry House AM

Awarded 27 September 2017

Mr House had a long and very productive high profile political career advocating passionately at a local, State and Federal level for the people of the City of Busselton and the broader South West.

He always made himself accessible and took a keen interest in local clubs, associations and individuals in the local community.

Mr House was born at Busselton Hospital and raised on a farm in Yallingup. He attended Yallingup Primary School and Busselton Senior High, where he was Dux and Head Boy. 

He undertook a Bachelor of Economics at UWA and later went to Teacher’s College. Teaching took him to Kalgoorlie, Kewdale, Churchlands and back to Busselton Senior High School.

Mr House was elected onto the then Shire of Busselton Council in 1987. In October in the same year, he was elected to represent the South West in the Legislative Council which he served on for nearly 30 years.

Mr House had numerous parliamentary, government and opposition roles over these years. In 2009-2017 he became President of the Legislative Council and from 2011-2014 he served on the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

He led parliamentary delegations to China, India, Sri Lanka, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Cook Islands, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Mr House presented papers at parliamentary and international conferences / seminars in London, San Diego, Pittsburg, Port Moresby, St Helena, Johannesburg, Colombo, Dhaka, Dar es Salaam, Raratonga, Wellington, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Samoa and Tonga.

On his retirement in May 2017, he was the longest serving current Member of the WA Parliament.

Mr House was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2019 for significant service to the people and Parliament of Western Australia, and to the community of the South West.

Over the years Mr House has been patron of:

  • CinefestOZ
  • Dunsborough, Geographe Bay and Koombana Bay Yacht Clubs
  • Friends of the Cape to Cape Walk Track
  • Pathways South West
  • Uniting Outreach / Match Factory
  • Busselton Tennis Club
  • Dunsborough Art Society
  • Margaret River Reader and Writers Festival
  • Margaret River Riding for the Disabled
  • Margaret River Mens Shed
  • Margaret River Bowling Club
  • South West Cricket Association
  • South West Rifle Association
  • Friends of Wellington Discovery Forest
  • 10th Light Horse Memorial Troupe
  • Dunsborough and Districts Country Club

And closely associated with numerous community organisations and schools for more than 30 years.

Mr House is a Life Member of

  • Busselton Margaret River Cricket Association
  • South West Cricket Association
  • Dunsborough Bay Yacht Club
  • Mr House was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow in 2017 by Matilda Bay Rotary Club, upgraded to Sapphire by Margaret River Rotary Club

Mr House has also been 

  • 2001 - Chair of "Terra Australis Bicentennial" Committee
  • Chair of the Margaret River Wine Association
  • Board member of the Margaret River Busselton Tourist Association
  • Board member of the Busselton and Margaret River Senior High Schools
  • President - Busselton Tennis Club
  • Convenor – Capes Business Network

 Mr House is still currently

  • Chair of the Busselton Jetty Inc Board
  • Chairman – WA Commonwealth Walkways Committee
  • Patron of several organisations.

Ian W Stubbs OAM

Awarded 27 September 2017

Mr Stubbs was the Shire Clerk for the Shire of Busselton between 1990 –1994.

He became the Shire of Busselton's inaugural Chief Executive Officer in 1994 and retired from this position in 1996.

He was then elected to the then Busselton Shire Council in 2007 and appointed Shire President from 2009 – 2012.

He became the municipality’s first Mayor when the Shire of Busselton became the City of Busselton in January 2012 and served on Council for eight years until 2015.

Mr Stubbs had a significant influence on Local Government and the long-term development of the City of Busselton. Many of the major improvements to facilities, infrastructure and services local people and visitors enjoy today are the direct result of his strategic planning, leadership and networking skills which helped raise the profile of the municipality at State and Federal level.

He spearheaded both the Busselton and Dunsborough Foreshore redevelopments and was a keen supporter of Central Business District renewal programs.

He advocated strongly for the redevelopment of the Civic and Administration Building and was a key driver in the Busselton Margaret River Airport Expansion Project.  

Mr Stubbs was integral in cementing the City’s position as the Events Capital of WA and played a major role in attracting the cruise ship industry to the region.

The economic, social and cultural benefits returned to this community as a direct result of his dedication and hard work cannot be understated.

  • Board member on the South West Development Commission and Regional Development Australia South West
  • Received the Order of Australia Medal in June 2014 through the WA Local Government Association for his service to Local Government and the community of Busselton.

Beryle Morgan

Awarded 29 August 2011

Mrs Morgan served on the then Shire of Busselton for twelve years between 1991 and 2003. Two as Deputy Shire President and seven as Shire President from 1996 to 2003.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip visited Busselton in 2000. Mrs Morgan was Shire President at the time and recalls it as one of the highlights of the City’s history.

She was also Shire President when the City of Busselton and the Town of Sugito officially became Sister Cities in November 1996.

After initially being put forward for the recognition of Honorary Freeman in September 2006, it took six years until the award was officially conferred and presented.

Mrs Morgan worked as a nurse since 1973 and whilst in her role as Shire President. Today she is semi-retired but continues to work in the health field. 

Other community work

  • Her efforts saw a WA Government position included on the South West Development Commission
  • Six years on the WA Municipal Association Executive, Ministry of Justice Advisory Committee
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Member for the School Attendance Panel for seven years
  • Member of GeoCatch for 12 years. Seven years as Council representative and three years as Chair
  • Member of the Busselton Festival Committee for 16 years including three as Chair
  • Chair and board member of the Busselton Dunsborough Enterprise Centre
  • Member of the South West WA Local Government Association for 13 years. Five as Chair
  • Patron of the Busselton Art Society
  • Member of the ladies volunteer firefighting auxiliary


Roy Edward Morris

Awarded 24 January 2011

Deceased 3 Sept 2022

Mr Morris devoted his life to the community of Busselton. In particular to preserving Busselton’s iconic Jetty and recognising the important role it could play in the tourism future of the region.

Mr Morris started his working life as a painter, owned and ran a local cartage business and worked for then then shire on and off for over 30 years until his retirement in 1995.

Whist employed at the Shire he worked tirelessly to improve city landscaping and the Vasse River foreshore area. And in his own time, utilizing shire machinery, on weekends he helped develop Lou Western Oval.

He worked tirelessly to save the Busselton Jetty and was an inaugural member of the Busselton Jetty Environment and Conservation Association (BJECA) now known as Busselton Jetty Inc for 27 years, first as vice president  and then as President.

If not for his vision and determination to restore the jetty after it was devastated by Cyclone Alby in 1978 and damaged by fire in 1999 the jetty may have not been still in existence today.

Whilst on the Executive committee he saw the restoration of the jetty and the design and construction of both the Interpretive Centre and Underwater Observatory. 

Community Involvement

  • Member of the Busselton Tourist Bureau (now the Margaret Busselton Tourism Association) for 13 years. Nine as President. Involved in the Leeuwin Way promotion, the opening of the Tourist Information Centre in Dunsborough and the opening of the Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse.
  • Life member and Vice Patron of the Geographe Bay Yacht Club. Commodore (1971 – 1975)
  • President of the Busselton Rotary Club during his 12 years membership and was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship.
  • Committee Member and fundraiser for St John Ambulance for 6-8 years.
  • Secretary of the Keep Busselton Beautiful Council for a number of years.
  • Committee member of the Festival of Busselton for five years.
  • Probus Club member, including time as President over a period of approximately 10 years.
  • Received the Federal Government Centenary medal for his contribution to the community in 2001.


Barry J Oates OAM

Awarded 26 January 2005

Mr Oates served as a Councillor for five years between 1979 -1984 including a time as the Chair of the then Shire Town Planning Committee.

A former diary farmer, Mr Oates received the order of Australia Medal (OAM) on 26 January 2007 for his service to the dairy industry and to water resource and catchment management.

Mr Oates was the President of the Dairy Section of the WA Farmers Federation from 1987- 1995 and Chair of the Geographe Catchment Council since its inception, from 1997-2004.

Mr Oates was instrumental in bringing together the community, the local Noongar community, industry and government stakeholders to overcome differences and resolve barriers to landcare in the Geographe Catchment area.

Other Community Work

  • Chair of the Whicher Water Resource Management Committee
  • Member of the Busselton Floodplain Management Committee
  • Member of the Environmental Improvement Initiative Local Advisory Group
  • Chairperson Yalyalup Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade
  • Member of the Dairy Industry Authority WA 1975 - 1978
  • Served on the WA Farmers Federation (WAFF) in varying capacities including Dairy Section President
  • Member of General Council and portfolio holder of Landuse and Conservation
  • Director on the Australian Dairy Research Council (7 years)
  • Member of the Australian Dairy Industry Council
  • Member of the WA Agricultural Practices Board
  • Member of the Rivers and Estuaries Council
  • Deputy Chair of the South West Catchments Council 1999-2002
  • Involved in State and Australian farm bodies
  • Coached local Hockey and Basketball teams

Allie Scott

Awarded 26 January 2003 (posthumously)

Deceased 18 December 2002

Mr Scott served as a Councillor for sixteen years between 1970 and 1986.

A descendent of the first settlers who arrived in Busselton in 1832, he also served as a founding member of the Busselton Jetty Committee, including 12 years as the President.

Mr Scott was awarded the Southern Senior of the Year in 2002 in recognition of his extensive lobbying and fundraising to restore the Busselton Jetty. His vision for the Jetty and the region created eco-tourism opportunities and significant long term benefits to the City of Busselton.

An Abba River farmer, he had a strong commitment and dedication to the farming and dairy community.

He served for many years on the Meat Executive of the WA Farmers Federation in the mid 1950s.

A member of Rotary, he was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship.

Mr Scott was also active in local sporting clubs, served on the Ruabon Progress Association and the Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade.

Terrence Brian House

Awarded 19 February 1997

Deceased 17 June 2003

Mr House served as a Councillor from 1981 to 1986 representing the West Rural Ward and from 1987 to 1996 representing the West Urban Ward. He was Shire President between 1985 and 1986.

Mr House, a decedent of two local pioneering families, grew up with four siblings on a farm in Yallingup. 

Mr House served on many Council Committees

  • Member of the Finance, Administration and Community Services Committee from 1987 through to 1996. Chairman in 1984
  • Member of the Works and Plant Committee from 1981 to 1986. Chairman in 1984
  • Member of the Busselton Beachfront Committee
  • Member of the Bush Fire Advisory Committee
  • Traffic Liaison Advisory Committee
  • Meelup Regional Reserve Advisory Committee
  • Dunsborough Structure Plan Committee
  • Local Rural Strategy/District Planning Committee

Other community work

  • Served as a Fire Control Officer for the Yallingup Rural Bush Fire Brigade
  • Dunsborough Light Industrial Area Advisory Committee
  • Council Representative on the Country Urban Council's Association
  • Member of the Regional Advisory Committee of the Agriculture Protection Board
  • Member of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park Liaison Committee
  • Held office of Secretary and President in local Badminton, Cricket and Hockey
  • Member of the then Yallingup Hall Committee
  • Foundation member of the Dunsborough Lions Club. Held office of Vice President
  • Member of the Dunsborough and District Country Club
  • President of the Dunsborough P & C for seven years
  • Member of the Busselton, Bunbury and Western Australian Trotting Associations
  • Member of the Dunsborough Branch of the Liberal Party

Reginald John Cooper

Awarded 1995

Deceased 1 April 2001

Mr Cooper was a Shire of Busselton employee for over 24 years from 1960 until May 1985.

Upon reitiring he was elected to Council and served from May 1985 – February 1996. Two years as Shire Deputy President from 1989 – 1990 and three years as President from 1990 – 1993.

His family immigrated from England when he was five as part of the Group Settlement Scheme and lived on a farm near Cowaramup.

Mr Coopers record of community service is phenomenal and wide ranging from work with youth programs and seniors through to negotiating with State and Federal Government agencies about recycling and coastal management.

He was heavily involved in the Busselton Beautification and townscape program and was the inaugural president of the Keep Busselton Beautiful Committee through his role with the Shire.

He served on at least 33 committees, some of which are listed below:

  • Meals on Wheels
  • Geographe Bay Advisory Committee
  • Busselton Tidy Towns Committee
  • Busselton Branch of State Emergency Services
  • Busselton Volunteer Fire Brigade
  • Busselton Tourist Bureau
  • Busselton Historical Society
  • Country representative on the State Government Municipal Waste Advisory Council
  • Blue Print Recycling Committee
  • Board Member Busselton Water Board
  • Chairman Busselton Railway Society

Dr Kevin John Cullen

Awarded 16 April 1993

Deceased 9 February 1994

Dr Kevin John Cullen was part of the team responsible for the Busselton Health Study which is internationally recognised as one the longest running population health research programs of its kind.

These population studies, which recorded the medical status of the Busselton community, commenced in 1966 and are still being carried out today. Thanks to Dr. Cullen's enthusiasm and gift of organisation, 95% of the population participated in the first study.

Dr. Cullen also achieved recognition with the publication of almost 200 of his articles and research papers worldwide. He wrote and published a number of papers on child behaviour.

Dr Cullen and his wife, Diana Madeline Cullen established Cullen Wines in 1971 and were one of the earliest commercial wineries in the then Shire of Busselton. Together they had an unwavering belief in the potential of the region to produce world class wines and were dedicated to achieving this and helping others in the industry to do the same, by sharing their knowledge and support.

In 1969 during the mining boom, Dr Cullen lobbied the State Government to reconsider mining in the region. This pressure led to the formation of the State Ministry of Environmental protection.

Joseph Torrent OAM JP

Awarded 27 June 1991

Deceased 17 February 1995

Mr Torrent was elected to the Busselton Road Board in 1957 and saw it become the Shire of Busselton in 1961. He continued as a Councillor until 1979 (22 years). He was Shire President between 1973 and 1979.

Joe was born to Spanish parents in 1908, one of 11 children and lived on a farm in Yoongarillup.

Other community work

  • Member of the Yoongarillup Hall Committee
  • Member of the Shire of Busselton Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades and Fire Control Officer for the Yoongarillup Brigade
  • Served as a Justice of the Peace
  • Served for 15 years on the Southern Districts Agricultural Society and was President for four years
  • Named Senior Citizen of the Year in 1988
  • Received the Order of Australia Medal in 1991 for service to the community.

Elsie Joy (Joy) Smith OAM JP

Awarded 27 June 1991

Deceased 18 March 2013

Ms Smith served on the Shire of Busselton Council from 1979 for 12 years and was Shire President between 1987 – 1990.

Other community work

  • Managing Secretary of the Busselton Tourist Bureau for nearly 20 years and saw it through several location moves
  • Served four years as President of the South-West Regional Travel Association and 12 years as President of the "Leeuwin Way" which promoted tourism from the south east to the south west of the State
  • Became President of the Busselton Festival Committee when it looked like the festival may not continue. Her efforts saw the event retained and it is still enjoyed by locals and visitors alike today
  • Secretary of the Dunsborough and District Country Club for five years
  • Member of the Busselton Business and Professional Womens' Club and has held the office of State President of the Western Australian Division and Vice President of the Australian Executive
  • Her community contributions also saw her awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 1997 for service to community particularly through local government and the promotion of tourism.
  • She was also awarded the Centenary Medal for outstanding service in tourism to the South West, particularly the Vasse region.

John Michael Sheedy JP

Awarded 27 June 1991

Deceased 25 May 2021

Mr Sheedy was elected to  Council in 1968 and served for 18 years. He was Shire President between 1979 and 1985.

Other community work

  • Known as 'Mr. Trotting' Mr Sheedy was the Secretary and President of the Country Trotting Association, served on the Council of the Western Australian Trotting Association and was Secretary and President of the South West Trotting Association
  • Served as a Justice of the Peace
  • Cub Master for the Busselton Cubs and District Cub Master
  • Council's representative to the Busselton Citizens Advice Bureau and after leaving Council, stayed on the Bureau's Committee
  • Was instrumental in the establishment of the Senior Citizens Centre and remained on the Board of the Senior Citizens Centre Management Committee
  • Member of the Busselton Water Board between 1968 and 1981 and served as Chairman between 1970 and 1979
  • Secretary of the Pensioners' League

Alexander Frederick Patterson JP

Awarded 27 June 1991

Deceased 2 February 1995

Mr Patterson served on the Busselton Road Board in 1958 before it became the Shire of Busselton in 1961. He served on Council for a period of 18 years until 1976. After six years as Deputy Shire President, he served three years as Shire President between 1970 and 1973.

Born in Aldershot England in 1910, Mr Patterson emigrated with his family to WA in 1922, where they took up land south of Busselton in Ambergate under the Group Settlement Scheme. The eldest son of a farmer, Alex also farmed for many years and was known as a very knowledgeable farmer. His pioneering work with the Department of Agriculture included the use of potash fertilizer to improve pastures.

Other community work

  • Justice of the Peace from 1973
  • Member of the Busselton Water Board between 1978 and 1985
  • Vice Patron of the Geographe Bay Yacht Club and made his home radio base available to assist with sea rescues

Clifford (Jack) Alexander Guthrie

Awarded 27 June 1991

Deceased 23 November 2006

Mr Guthrie was elected in 1974 and served for 16 years (with one year break). He served as Shire President between 1986 and 1987.

Mr Guthrie was born in Margaret River and lived in Cowaramup until his family moved to Busselton where they operated timber and trucking businesses.

He was an accomplished sportsman and played with the East Fremantle Club for a time.

He also enjoyed golf and was a member of Busselton Golf Club from1961. He was President between 1978 and 1981 and was made Patron of the Club in 1983.

Other community work:

  • Member of the Busselton Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade
  • President of the South West Shire Councils' Association for 12 months
  • Served on the Country Shire Councils' Association Board as the South West's delegate and through this, served on many of its Committees
  • Zone representative on the Agricultural Protection Board for many years
  • Member of the South-West Regional Planning Committee and Council's representative on the Vasse Wonnerup District Land Conservation Committee

What is Freedom of Entry?

Freedom of Entry to the City of Busselton is the highest honour Council can bestow upon a military unit or a group that has strong ties or has made a profound contribution to the City of Busselton.

History of the honour

The Freedom of Entry is an ancient honour bestowed to a military unit with historic ties to an area governed by an authority. The tradition dates back to medieval times in continental Europe where citizens of walled cities wisely refused to allow entry to armed groups, including troops, unless they were absolutely sure that those arms would not be used against them.

It authorised the unit to march through the streets of the City on a ceremonial occasion with swords drawn, bayonets fixed, drums beating, colours flying and band playing. The tradition still lives on in countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand.

The honour coveys no legal rights and is sometimes known as Keys to the City which are given to a non-military organisations or groups. In modern times, an ornamental key or certificate is presented.

City of Busselton Freedom of Entry Recipients

Busselton Brass

16 March 2012

The Busselton Brass, one of the oldest bands in Western Australia, were the first group to be presented with Freedom of Entry to the Town of Busselton on 16 March 2012.

The City of Busselton bestowed the honour to Busselton Brass and as a mark of honour and in appreciation of their devoted service to the community.

Members of Busselton Brass were also given the distinguished privilege of marching through the streets on ceremonial occasions with drums beating and instruments playing.

Busselton Brass were given Freedom of Entry into the Town of Busselton during a re-enactment of a ceremony that dates back to medieval times.

It was part of the inaugural Culture on Queen Event and involved the band being challenged by “Halt! Who goes there? Identify yourselves and state by what right you enter into the Town of Busselton! Mayor, Ian Stubbs then granted them Freedom of Entry into the Town.

Busselton Brass celebrated 150 years on 13 November 2021.

Busselton Brass celebrated 150 years on 13 November 2021. They marked the milestone by re-enacting their 'Freedom of Entry to the City' marching down Queen Street. The day of celebration concluded at the Esplanade Hotel with a free family concert.

Australian Defence Force Vessel, Cape Naturaliste 

6 December 2022

Freedom of entry to the City of Busselton was conferred upon the new Australian Defence Vessel, Cape Naturaliste on 6 December 2022.

In honour of the naming of the Cape Naturaliste Vessel, Council approved an offer of a ceremonial Home Port in the City and for the vessel and its crew to be offered Freedom of Entry.

Student representatives from local high schools accompanied Mayor Henley to Garden Island to formalise the City’s offer with a presentation and gifts for the vessel.


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