Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Grati-Tuesday 1 September

One of the guests who attended the Opening Night of the Rosewood Quilt Show on Friday night was a soldier called Bruce from the local area.  He and I chatted and I discovered that he has a passion for history and I prevailed upon him to do some writing for us.  This is his first piece and I think it is appropriate to share it in our weekly Grati-tude post.

A History of Giving.

During the early days of WWI the home folk of Australia saw a need to look after their fathers, sons and daughters that had gone off to fight for the Empire. Out of this was born the Australian Comforts Fund, ACF for short.  During the great War of 1914-1918 the ACF sent over 1.3 million pairs of hand knitted socks, nearly 2 million Christmas boxes containing writing wallets, chewing gum, handkerchiefs, tobacco, and sausages as well as thousands of shirts, vests, pajamas, kangaroo-skin fleece-lined jackets, and woolen knitted scarves and balaclavas. The ACF was a source of solace and encouragement for the troops abroad. It was also a means for the women at home to contribute to the war effort and identify with their young men in the trenches. The vast amount of organisational work involved in running the ACF developed new managerial skills among the women themselves. They raised thousands of pounds, through door-knock appeals, fetes and button days to cover the costs of materials and shipping. The ACF was dissolved at the end of the war, but had proved such a success as a vital link between home and the battlefield that it was revived in 1940 to supply ‘comforts’ for a new generation of Australian soldiers.

I was asked to attend the start of the Rosewood Quilting show on Friday night last. The guest speaker there was Jan-Maree who was talking about the Aussie Hero Quilts that were being sent to our forces serving overseas currently. As I sat there and listened it struck a cord with me that after all the deployments I have done, no one had ever gone to the trouble to send me anything that had come from the heart apart from the box full of jelly snakes, caramel latte coffee and general letters you get. The quilt “idea”, the simplicity of it and yet the brilliance, it speaks volumes to me, that someone could sit there for the better part of five to six weeks toiling over a quilt or a laundry bag. Then for the recipient to get that quilt or laundry bag at the other end, from a total stranger who drew the name at random most times from a list of names. Not to mention the organisational load and logistics needed in getting the quilt/laundry bag there in the first place from volunteers here on the home front.

The surprise that recipient would get, the pride that they must feel in the fact that our home folk do care about them, the quilt or laundry bag becomes a tangible link with what they have done or gone through as a memory jogger. From here I have drawn the analogy of the “history of giving” our home folk have.  For at least a century they have seen fit to make whatever they could for our service personnel, whether it is a quilt or a knitted pair of socks, it is keeping that tradition alive, it’s from the heart and that’s what counts....... Especially if you’re near the butt hole of the world and feeling like you’ve been forgotten by all and sundry. 


Hopefully it wont be too long before Bruce writes some more for us.  
Thanks Bruce!

And now to some thank you messages....

Hi Alison,

I have received the terrific quilt and goodies (I love Tim Tams!). I love the quilt and it looks great on my bed (see photo). Thank you so much - it is an honour for me to be the recipient of your first Aussie Hero quilt. I will write to you properly in the next couple of days but I thought that you might like to know that I received your package and the quilt is already in use and much appreciated (and one Tim Tam has already gone missing!). 


Good morning Wendy, I am one of the 2 aircraft controllers onboard HMAS Melbourne. 

I would like to thankyou for my laundry bag. It looks awesome! The guys that are still awaiting theirs are pretty keen to see what the other quilters are going to whip up for them.
The treats you included in the package were well received not only by myself but some of my mess mates as we have now almost run out of Aussie snacks haha. We still have tons of vegemite and peanut butter though haha.
Thankyou again for taking the time to make me this laundry bag. It is very much appreciated that you have put the time in for me while I'm away from home.
Hope all is well for yourself.


Hi Debbie

I am writing to thank you for quilt that you recently made and sent to me here in Afghanistan. It is always nice to receive any mail from home and receiving the quilt made it extra special. I have been in Afghanistan now for just under five months and I have about two months to go until I get to go home. In my role over here I am attached to an American unit so in my free time I find myself explaining about kangaroos and trying to convince the Americans that there are places in Australia where it is safe from snakes, spiders, crocodiles and sharks. Apart from the Americans I also work with Bulgarian and Romanian soldiers as they contribute to mission here as part of the NATO alliance. My main role is contributing to protecting the base and keeping everyone deployed here a safe as possible.

Thanks again for the quilt and all your efforts to support us from home. It is very much appreciated.



Dear Julie Ann,
Thank you for the laundry bag you so kindly sewed for me on behalf of AHQ.
It is a great memento from this deployment and something I will appreciate always.
Thanks and regards,

Dear Julie Ann,

I am just wanting to thank you for the wonderful laundry bag you made me. It really is terrific       and receiving a laundry bag or quilt is a great morale booster.

We only have a little over a month to go now, it really seems like it only just started but of course it hasn't and so many things have changed and milestones met and missed since we left our families.  I hope that all is going well for your family and that you are finding some time for yourself in your busy life.

Kindest regards,


Afternoon Leanne  W

I just want to thank you very much for taking the time to make the quilt you have sent me it is awesome I use it everynight as it is too hot up here for a normal quilt so it has come at a good time hahaha  
Anyway thanks again I think the work that you guys are doing is amazing.

Dear Jane,

Thank you very much for the care package, in particular the quilt, it was greatly appreciated – I will try not to get it dirty.   It is the appreciation of the general public that makes it worthwhile getting up in the morning and doing this job – thank you.   It is a hot old place over here; we are going through a period of 46° – 50°C temperatures (it’s a good thing that the AC works well).   The food is plentiful and the accommodation is better than some and worse than others.   Well, must get back to work, again thank you for your thanks and for the package.


Hi Pennie

I am writing to thank you for laundry bag that you recently made and sent to me here in Afghanistan. It is always nice to receive any mail from home and receiving the laundry bag made it extra special. The rising sun emblem looks fantastic and I have already started using the bag. Thanks again for the laundry bag and all your efforts to support us from home. It is very much appreciated

Hi Pennie,
Thank You so so much for my wonderful laundry bag and the kind words in your letter.
The laundry bag is amazing you have done such a great job. If I had have seen that in the shops, thats the one I would have chosen. It has made a few others jealous too.
Oh, and thank you also for all the extra little goodies. They will definitely come in handy.
You must be a very kind person, working as a nurse helping others, and also being part of Aussie hero quilts.
Again, thank you so much for your generosity. It really is greatly appreciated

Hi Jan-Maree

The quilt and laundry bag arrived and they look fantastic! I'm impressed at how quickly it arrived. I'm also glad I let you pick the design, I sent the wife a pic and she loves it as well. Also having my initials on the laundry bag is great, my issued ones seem to go missing a lot! haha.

Thank you again for this fantastic service you provide, we are all very grateful.

Kind regards

Hi Sophie,

My daughter has the same name, she was named after my grandmother. I received your parcel yesterday, thank you so I quickly grabbed a laundry bag for myself and the others were quickly dispersed. 

Myself, I am first generation born Australian and my folks left Germany after the war as they had enough of the war torn region and wanted to start a fresh to bring up their kids in relative safety. My serving in the Army was my way of saying thank you the the Australian people. Of our rather large family, only two of us are serving. I have a cousin in the Navy( he is more than half my age) and I'm getting closer to retirement..

It is hot here during the day however have aircon everywhere. Thank you once again from the bottom of my heart for your time and effort in making these lovely bags, they will be gladly used.

God bless you and all the ladies taking the time to making these and sending them.
Kind Regards

Hi Cheri,

I recently received your wonderful package.  Thank you so much for the amazing quilt- it really is quite impressive.  My mother is a very keen quilter so I've seen enough of them to know a good one.  I chose yellow and black as they are the colours of our squadron: 816 Sqn - The Fighting Tigers.  I wanted a quilt that would commemorate the deployment and you did an outstanding job considering it's outside your comfort zone. 

Thank you for the well wishes, we are over the half way point of the deployment now.  Hopefully we can get some more seizures before we start making the journey home.  

Hopefully you are dealing with the Tasmanian winter better than I am with the 45 deg heat!

Take care

Till next time.....................keep spreading the word and happy stitching!

Jan-Maree xx


  1. Beautiful words and a beautiful job on your first Aussie quilt Alison. Thank you too Bruce for the kind words and the history too.

  2. Great words Bruce. Thank you for sharing.