This blog is dedicated to encouraging people to make quilts and laundry bags to send to Aussie service men and women currently serving overseas and to express our gratitude for their service. We care about the people - not the politics or the mission.
Our quilts are not works of art, but works of the heart.
Tonight I had the privilege of speaking at the Rotary Club of Pennant Hills Australia Day Celebration Dinner. After a lovely meal I was invited to take the microphone and tell the Aussie Hero Quilts story. Aided by Bev F who controlled the Powerpoint for me I spoke for about half an hour and then whilst Bev held them up I spoke about several of our quilts and laundry bags. My presentation was well received and then the program moved on to the last formality of the night, the introduction and presentation of the 2020 Australia Day Merit Award.
The speaker explained that the award is presented to someone in the local community who has made a contribution to the community in some manner.
The Honourable Phillip Ruddock (now the Mayor of Hornsby) and the District Governor of Rotary, Kalma McLellan came forward to present the award and then they asked me to come forward to RECEIVE it! I had absolutely NO IDEA.
The program holds a list of previous recipients which includes people like Kay Cottee AO, Ian Kiernan OAM and and the incredible Nancy-Bird Walton OBE.
What an absolute honour and how very very special to be honoured in such a way in my own local community. Whilst the plaque has my name on it the truth is that Aussie Heroes is a team and without the team we would be nowhere so really the award is for all of us to share.
A heartfelt thank you to the Rotary Club of Pennant Hills for recognising our work in such a special way. I am humbled to be included in such a very special group.
Till next time... keep spreading the word and happy stitching!
So far I have the following names on my list of people to join me on HMAS Hobart for a tour and refreshments, on Wednesday 5 February.
There are still a few spaces left if you want to join us but you have to be an active volunteer, ie, you need to have sewn for us in the last 6-12 months.
Last chance to let me know is by midday tomorrow, Wednesday 29th January.
Good afternoon all, I have just received an invitation for 20 of our volunteers to visit HMAS Canberra on the morning of Wednesday 5 Feb 2020.
HMAS Hobart (III) is the first of three ships of the Hobart Class guided missile destroyers and she was commissioned on 23 September 2017.
Hobart was constructed in Australia by the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance.
Hobart will provide air defence for accompanying ships in addition to land forces and infrastructure in coastal areas, and for self-protection against missiles and aircraft.
I will give priority to people who have sewn for us in the last 6 months but if you have sewn in the l2 months still put your name down in case there is room. Partners are also welcome, however preference will be given to those who sew for us. You will need to make your own way to the Gangway at Garden Island by 915am and our tour should be completed by 1130 or so. If you are interested in coming along please email me at friendsofAHQ@gmail.com. Comments on Facebook may be missed. Cheers
Last Friday, after an early start ,grey skies and a
chauffeur driven ride (aka Jan-Maree) Toni, Jenny A and myself were taken to Garden Island to embark on a Family day
trip sailing on HMAS Hobart.
(Arriving at Naval base
HMAS Hobart is a sophisticated and
lethal guided missile destroyer warship with a unique combat system, heli pad and
is one of the Navy's top ships. HMAS Hobart incorporates state-of-the-art phased array radar and an
advanced air defence system capable of engaging enemy aircraft and missiles at
ranges in excess of 150 kilometres.
Just before Christmas, HMAS Hobart
returned from a three month deployment in Asia, stopping in Japan and Korea
with two other Australian ships. It was an opportunity to proudly show our
partner nations what she can do. On her
way home Hobart stopped in Cairns. It was here the ships company were surprised
with a laundry bag each of them. The crew were directed to the ships office to
make their selection. Here they went through the vast array and chose what connected
and meant something to them. Mate looking after mate, if they saw a bag that
they knew someone would like, they put it aside for them.
stop meeting our wonderful guide Ben and photo op with HMAS Hobart sign
(with our guide Ben)
Upon boarding we were personally welcomed by the ship's captain, Commander Ryan Gaskin. He personally welcomed and thanked us for what Aussie
Hero’s does for our troops.
(Commander Ryan Gaskin with Jenny A, Cath Hpr and Toni)
We started our day with a briefing
on the heli pad regarding sea sickness and what not to do and were offered a
sick bag each. Some of our group felt a little seedie during the day at sea. A
rundown of the day followed with a safety demonstration with crew all kitted
out in appropriate protective gear and hoses. They showed how a fire would be dealt with if necessary. Some people looking down from the deck above got a
(stern mast party)
While we waited to leave port, our
expert guide, Ben, gave a detailed and informative tour of the deck and
the guns and missile capabilities of HMAS Hobart.
(The models with the largest gun)
As HMAS Brisbane, Hobart’s younger sister ship had to be moved by tug
boats as she was moored alongside and we could not leave the dock until she was
pushed out of the way. Being up this close the Tugs are very large with great
power. Once she was moved then we were off on a day of adventure. She quickly
built up speed and we were travelling fast through the harbour past Watsons Bay
and out the heads where we turned left, put foot on the pedal built up speed and
up the coast and northern beaches. We got up to approx 22 knots. If you have
been on a cruise ship then the slight movement is fine as the ship has
We had a tour of the men’s quarters, saw some laundry bags on display,
hanging near their racks (bunk beds) in their tight quarters, visited the gym
for a brief workout, the laundry room just for a visit not laundry duty. We
were lucky, right place at right time, had a special tour of the torpedo room.
As this is a secure and locked area all bags and phones had to be left
outside.All of this was done by
maneuvering through hatches up and down narrow stairs which we all did with
great trepidation while they crew run up and down them.
Ear plugs were issued and we moved to the bow of the ship for a gun fire
exercise. The crew were kitted out with protective clothing-vests, helmet and
demonstrated machine guns and hand held weapons.
Starboard gun display,
gunfire display port side,
Next on the agenda was lunch in the Junior Seaman’s mess. We queued with
the ship’s company and had a range of selections from hamburger, fish, pork
belly, potato bake and veggies to choose from. All of us sat down like a
family, bit like The Waltons. Here we spent time getting to know each other
Moving after lunch to a higher deck and enjoyed the wind in our hair and
breeze on our face and the view as we came back into Sydney Harbour. But to get
there was an even smaller ladder where we had to pull ourselves up to get to
it. We were in a prime location to watch the launch of a RHIB Rigid Hulled
Inflatable Boat. Ben was called to operate the crane, allowing the
boat to be lowered over the side of the ship.
Rigid hulled inflatable boat foto)
The guys in the inflatable
boat are highly trained in this maneuver as the boat can easily capsize. They
clearly love doing this and had fun launching and driving the boat in the
harbour. Big boys toys.
As we neared Garden Island on our return we passed HMAS Canberra L02.
She is the current flagship of the RAN fleet. HMAS Hobart piped her as we
passed and the ships company stood to attention. This is done as a mark of
respect as she is a senior ship.
Canberra’s crew were also at attention and as we passed they piped us.
We also had the Army band play for us as we passed. They were on the Canberra (preparing for Australia Day preparations).
(Army band on HMAS Canberra)
Once we docked and were waiting for permission to disembark, Commander
Gaskin came and joined us, asking how our day was and again thanking us for what
we do. He asked had I met my recipient who was working all day as he is the
navigation officer. I hadn't, so before we departed the ship I met my recipient of the Collingwood
laundry bag. We do these things with love and send them off never
expecting to meet our recipient so an already very special day was made even
(with my recipient)
Special thank you to our fabulous caring and informative tour guide Ben. You taught us so much and looked after us so well and shared your
passion and dedication for the job you do. You gave us an insight into your
life onboard an Australian warship. We were adopted by Ben and his family for
the day. His family – Mum, Dad, sister and a friend flew from Brisbane to be part of this special day along with his wife, Bek, who travelled up from Canberra.
The other ladies and myself are very grateful for what you all did to make this
unique and privileged day so very memorable and special.
Thank you HMAS Hobart for the generosity shown to us. You make us all
proud of you.
Thank you for your amazing service!
Thanks for the report Cath!
Till next time... keep spreading the word and happy stitching!