Canberra Part 2

Written by AHQ

27 November 2014

Now for Part 2 of my trip to Canberra.  I got half way though Wednesday in my last post.  After meeting up with a recipient to deliver his quilt and then meeting with one of the RAAF photographers who has been deployed and has seen our work first hand “over there” (lucky thing!) I wandered over to the Memorial to watch the Last Post Ceremony. 

Usually at the end of each day, commencing at 4.55 pm,  the Last Post Ceremony is conducted. The ceremony begins with the singing of the Australian National Anthem, followed by a Lament, played by a piper. This is very moving.  Visitors are invited to lay wreaths and floral tributes beside the Pool of Reflection.  A couple of school laid wreaths the day I was there.   The Roll of Honour in the Cloisters lists the names of more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations over more than a century. At each ceremony the story behind one of these names will be told. The Ode is then recited, and the ceremony ends with the sounding of the Last Post.
I was lucky and happened to be there on the right day to see Australia’s Federation Guard at work.  On the first and third Wednesday of each month the Last Post Ceremony includes the presence of Australia’s federation Guard .  At 4.00 pm a catafalque party mounted a vigil at the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier in the Hall of Memory. There was a change of guard at 4.30 pm, and the entire catafalque party then participated in the Last Post Ceremony.  

It was a very moving ceremony and I was pleased to see lots of people there to experience it, including plenty of school children.

That night I had another treat. Occasionally I develop more than a fleeting friendship with some of the people I deal with and these two fellows are a great case in point.  They were both in AMAB earlier this year. I had met the fellow in white once before, but this was the first time meeting the “big fella”, as everyone seems to call him.  

It was so nice to chat over a lovely dinner, accompanied by the “big fella’s” lovely wife.  

Thursday saw me meeting more new people and catching up with another friend though I don’t have much in the way of photos to show you. 

First I visited the fellows at the 1st Joint Public Affairs Unit. Now I reckon these guys must have just about the best job, going anywhere and everywhere, taking photos, videos, recording interviews.  It seems to me that just about anywhere our defence members go there is a photographer at least, if not also a journalist, following them around.  I am told that more often than not their offices appear deserted as their people are all over the place for work. 

I did achieve a long term goal though – I manged to get a photographer in front of the camera!  A rare feat I think!   This particular PHOT is a recipient of one of my laundry bags and a quilt that Lynn made.  He has faithfully promised me a photo of himself with both……….hmmmm…….. 

From a visit to 1stJPAU I headed out to the National Portrait Gallery for lunch with another recipient and his wife.  No, photos this time, because I was too busy chatting and enjoying myself but you can, like me, ponder over this piece of art in the compound outside the entrance to the Gallery if you want. 

Again, I am sorry, no photos of Thursday night’s dinner but I can show you a pic from my last trip to Canberra when I had coffee with this fellow.  This time I was invited to have dinner with his gorgeous family at their home. I was delivering a quilt that will be handed to the recipient later in the year.   Can’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Friday dawned bright, early and warm.  I headed out to Queanbeyan to attend a sewing day arranged by Jo-anne and some of her friends from a CWA (Country Women’s Association) Group.  The 1st JPAU fellows had asked if there was a sewing day in Canberra that they could film.  Their goal was t make a video of an Aussie Hero Sewing Day as well as interviewing myself.  I have  no idea when you will be able to see either of those but I will let you know when I know.  I was too busy sewing but did manage to get one shot of a photographer in his natural habitat  😀

These are the lovely ladies who took part on the day.  

I had gone along with a few laundry bags prepared so that we could surprise our guests with a laundry bag of their own.  

Of course I was not totally organised as I realised once the bags were finished that I had forgotten cord so had to bring them home with me to add the cord to. I will post them back down next week.

Of course you can’t attend any sort of CWA get together without being fed wonderful food and of course our three fellows just had to be polite and sample some of the goodies on offer.   Of course there were scones (which I missed out on) but I overheard one of the fellows remarking on how delicious they were.

Thanks ladies for a great day!  I shall look forward to hopefully catching up with you again next time I am in Canberra if there is time.

Friday night was my last night in town and I just had time to pack up all my dear before I caught up with some friends for dinner.  It was up early on Saturday for the drive home, via a very quick stop for some fabric retain therapy at one of our big supporters, Berrima Patchwork.

I arrived home safe and sound on Saturday afternoon to find my house still standing and the two 18 year olds had not starved. In fact, they had managed quite well which just means I can go away more often perhaps………after I get caught up from this trip. 

Things look like being very busy from now till the middle of December.  I am trying to get as many quilts in the mail in time for Christmas as possible. 

Till next time, keep spreading the word and happy stitching!  
Jan-Maree xx

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  1. Dasha

    Great post JM


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