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NSW: Big weekend of events for Sydney

14 Mar 2009 12:32 AM

SYDNEY, March 14 AAP - All spit and polish in their white dress uniforms, thousands of navy personnel will march through Sydney on Saturday in the city's largest show of troops since the end of World War II.

The 4,600 personnel will take part in the traditional freedom of entry parade after arriving in Sydney Harbour on Friday.

A 15-strong fleet of warships sailed through the heads after six weeks of exercises along Australia's eastern seaboard, a spectacle that delighted thousands of spectators lining the foreshore.

Steeped in traditional pomp and pageantry, the parade will start at The Rocks at 9am (AEDT), before moving up George St past the town hall and ending at Liverpool Street.

The Queen's Colours will be paraded before Governor-General Quentin Bryce, who will meet Rear Admiral Nigel Coates and inspect the personnel before the march gets underway.

During the ceremonial march, Rear Admiral Coates will be challenged for the right to enter Sydney by NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.

Mr Scipione will then present the rear admiral with a scroll granting the navy freedom of entry to the city.

Spectators are being warned to take public transport as there will be extensive road closures and clearways in effect for the event, one of several expected to draw Sydneysiders into the city this weekend.

The Sound Relief benefit concert for Victoria's bushfire victims and those affected by the Queensland floods will be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Saturday.

One of the biggest bands in the world, Coldplay, will kick off proceedings just after midday.

The concert will also feature reformed 1980s band Icehouse, John Farnham, Bee Gee Barry Gibb, Olivia Newton-John, Jet, Wolfmother and the Hoodoo Gurus.

On Sunday, the city will play host to the annual St Patrick's Day parade celebrating all things Irish.

Road closures and clearways will be in force for the colourful march, which starts at the corner of George and Bathurst streets at 12pm (AEDT) on Sunday before moving down Elizabeth Street to Hyde Park.