A Visit to the “Yarralumla”

Written by AHQ

1 November 2023

Thanks to Heather B we have a great article about our visit to Government House… enjoy!

The reception area of the Rex Hotel was a-buzz. The “Aussie Hero Quilts” Volunteers and some of their partners were gathering… all were “dressed to the nines”, greeting each other and excitedly chatting ….. ready for the first activity of the “Volunteers weekend”……. A visit to the residence and afternoon tea with Their Excellencies Governor-General David Hurley and his wife Mrs Linda Hurley, Government House, Yarralumla.

First of all …. A little background in case it has been a long time since those school lessons….

The Governor-General of Australia is His Majesty The King’s representative, ie, Australia’s Head of State and as such has a range of constitutional and ceremonial duties. The Governor-General is also Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Defence Force. His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC, was sworn in as Governor-General of Australia on July 1, 2019, previously being Governor of NSW and serving in the Defence Force from 1972 to 2014.

So….. afternoon tea with the Governor-General is a pretty big deal and we were all honoured to have this opportunity.

Off we go! Prior to the afternoon tea, four of us – Melissa L, Tracey “Pello” Pelling (AHQ Board member and our MC) and Jan-Maree (Founder of AHQ), and myself had the privilege of meeting Their Excellencies for an informal chat. 

On arrival, we were greeted by LEUT Mi  who escorted us to the Governor-General’s Office and informed us he and Mrs Hurley would be with us in 9mins! “please feel free to look around in His Excellency’s Office”. That we did, admiring his collection of Challenge Coins, the many “cultural” gifts from many countries, and the wonderful outlook to the Molonglo River.



We were introduced to Their Excellency’s, Jan-Maree telling them a summary of what we do, and how AHQ works. They were keen to know of the involvement of each of us, and I must say, they were impressed by what a group of volunteers can do and what a difference we make to our serving members and veterans of the Defence Force.It was soon time to join the assembled group in the drawing room. After formal announcement, His Excellency spoke to our group, welcomed us to His Residence, and on behalf of all recipients, thanked the AHQ volunteers for the work we do and that we must not underestimate our contribution.

Mrs Hurley then took the lectern and surprised us all! Apart from supporting her husband in all official roles, Mrs Hurley (among other interests) has a passion for music and the joy that music can bring. She had obviously done her “homework” about Aussie Heroes as she had written a song and proceeded to sing to us! How special! The lyrics of this are being forwarded to Jan-Maree.

Next it was our turn… oh dear!….. As singing is such a happy act, we all had to sing “You are my Sunshine” and the second time through, turning to the nearest person and sing to them. That certainly relaxed everyone and brought a smile!

Jan-Maree responded on behalf of all volunteers and thanked Their Excellencies for hosting the afternoon tea and allowing us to visit Their Home.

Afternoon tea was now ready. His Excellency inviting us to partake and to wander as we pleased throughout the downstairs rooms. Many of the artwork adorning the walls are on loan from the National Art Gallery and many more gifts to Australia from other nations are on display for viewing.

Their Excellencies, certainly put us at ease, and mingled as we accepted the sandwiches, hot savouries and sweets, with a cup of tea or coffee.



I noticed a lovely quilt draped over one of the lounges – a special meeting was about to happen. The Governor-General’s Aide, Leut Mi had brought her Aussie Hero Quilt to show and un-beknown to her, Bev and Geoff C, who made it, were right there. I am told there were leaky eyes at this meeting. Meeting a recipient or your quilter is fabulous and brings home the importance of what we do!image5


Another quilt I noticed in the hallway was one of many poppies – a beautiful piece of art – each poppy having the name of the fallen warriors of Afghanistan…. A sad moment of reflection.

The afternoon was drawing to a close, much later than scheduled. Jan-Maree took the opportunity to present His Excellency an Aussie Heroes Challenge Coin as a thank you and to add to his collection, the only person to ever receive one who is not a volunteer.



Their Excellencies often open their home to the public, so if you have another opportunity, pay another visit and perhaps explore the beautiful grounds and gardens.Heather B

Many thanks for taking the time to write this up for us Heather! 

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

Jan-Maree xx

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