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Avalon Tattoo, Pittwater NSW

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by CassandraJoy (subscribe)
I write for Weekend Notes and I take photographs, usually sunsets and sunrises. Occasionally I include my photos in my articles. I like to promote Geelong, and activities around Geelong.
Event:
Avalon Tattoo - Saturday June 14th 2014
Army cadets
Army cadets

At the Avalon Tattoo, on Saturday June 14th, The 201 Army Cadets Unit will be demanding Freedom of Entry to Pittwater. The emphasis this year is on Army. There will also be pipe bands - Rural Fire Service Pipe Band, The NSW Police Band and the NSW Fire and Rescue Band, as well as the Precision Marching Team. The Avalon Tattoo will be held on Saturday June 14th in Dunbar Park, Avalon Beach.
Sunset Ceremony, Avalon Tattoo
Sunset Ceremony, Avalon Tattoo

Without outlining the whole program, here is a brief summary of what's on for the day. It is a jam packed day of displays, marching, pipe bands, street parades and more.

9.00am - 12.00 noon, local school bands and groups will be performing.
12.00 noon to 12.30pm there will be a street parade from Avalon School to Dunbar Park. There will be a massed pipe band performing during the parade.
16.00pm (4.00pm) to 16.15pm (4.15pm) the VIPs will arrive.
16.45pm to 17.45pm is the Finale with a second massed pipe band, the lone piper, Celtic Singing and a fireworks display.

You can view the whole program of the day here.

As it is a full action-packed day, the program on the website will give you more information than the short summary above.
VIPs Avalon Tattoo 2013
VIPs Avalon Tattoo 2013

The whole day is quite formal with a salute at the march past - by Her Excellency the Governor of NSW, Marie Bashir AC CVO. There will be other dignitaries, possibly including the Mayor of Pittwater, and the NSW Police Local Area Commander. The Freedom of Entry and the Freedom of Entry Challenge are all part of the formal proceedings.

There has been up to 1,400 participants at recent Tattoos and usually up to 7,000 spectators, depending on the weather. Some spectators come to watch certain segments of the displays, others stay for the whole day. The Ceremonial Sunset salute is quite spectacular.

Army on display
Army on display


The Avalon Tattoo is a great family fun day. It brings local community groups together and is a great way for young people to learn about options there are in the cadets. The Avalon Tattoo is held on the Northern Beaches at Pittwater. It is a free, not for profit, non-commercial event. It relies on the support of volunteer participants.

Come for the marching, the pipe bands, the live music and the fireworks. There will be aviation displays, information stands and more. Have a great day out and enjoy the fireworks at the end of the day.

About The Avalon Tattoo
Avalon Tattoo, June 2014
Avalon Tattoo, June 2014


The Avalon Tattoo started in 2006. It was an initiative of the Avalon Beach RSL sub-Branch, and it featured the Royal Australian Navy Band, the Australian Defence Force Reserves, Cadet Units, Community and Emergency Services, Concert Bands, Pipe Bands and local School Bands.

Marching band, Avalon Tattoo
Marching band, Avalon Tattoo


Each year since then the Avalon Tattoo has expanded and it's now a major event, that is featured on tourist web sites.

In 2010 the Pittwater Council granted "Freedom of Entry" to the three local Cadet Units into the city of Pittwater. Each year, at the Tattoo, one unit, in rotation, exercises that right. The Service of that unit becomes the military emphasis for that year.

At each of the Avalon Tattoos the ceremony involves a march past of the cadets. Generally the Mayor inspects the troops, and grants Freedom of Entry to Pittwater.

Patriotic bagpipe player
Patriotic bagpipe player

What is a Military Tattoo?

A military tattoo was originally a military drum performance. More generally it came to mean army displays.

The term military tattoo dates from around 1600. During the Thirty Year's War in the Low Countries (Belguim and the Netherlands) the Dutch Fortresses were garrisoned by mercenary troops who were under federal command since 1594.

The Dutch States Army had become a federal army, consisting of Scottish, English, German and Swiss mercenaries, but commanded by a Dutch officer corps. Drummers from the garrison were sent out into the towns at 21:30 hrs (9:30PM) each evening to inform the soldiers that it was time to return to barracks.

The process was known as doe den tap toe (Dutch for "turn off the tap"), an instruction to innkeepers to stop serving beer and send the soldiers home for the night. The drummers continued to play until the curfew at 22:00 hrs (10:00PM). Tattoo, earlier tap-too and taptoo, are alterations of the Dutch words tap toe which have the same meaning.

Over the years, the process became more of a show and often included the playing of the first post at 21:30 hrs and the last post at 22:00. Bands and displays were included and shows were often conducted by floodlight or searchlight.

Military Tattoos were commonplace in the late 19th century with most military and garrison towns putting on some kind of show or entertainment during the summer months.

For more information about the Avalon Tattoo go to the Avalon RSL website.

Images courtesy of Avalon Tattoo and What's on Pittwater
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Why? Marching bands, armed forces, pipe bands, drumming
When: 9.00am to 6.00pm
Phone: (02) 9918 2201
Where: Dunbar Park, Avalon
Cost: Free
Your Comment
great article full of information well done very much enjoyed reading this
by Anne Dignam (score: 2|870) 2012 days ago
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