Grati-Tuesday 14th February 2023

Written by AHQ

14 February 2023

Happy Tuesday Friends!

Happy Valentine’s Day
So grab a nice cool beverage, sit back, relax and 
savour these beautiful messages! 

Good Morning Heather B,
Greetings from HMAS Hobart! I can’t express my appreciation enough for the quilt, it truly is astounding and absolutely beautiful. I have been very much looking forward to today, ever since I placed my order late last year. I’m so glad it came out even better than I imagined. 
I have a few colleagues both on Hobart and in my previous posting who had quilts and bags made by the volunteers at Aussie Hero Quilts, and always admired the quality and care which went in to the production of the products, as well as the interesting and unique stories each volunteer had to share. 
As for myself, I am serving as a Maritime Warfare Officer on board Hobart and have been since the start of 2022.My primary role is to drive the ship as the Officer of the Watch on the Bridge. I am directly responsible to the Commanding Officer / Captain to ensure the safety of the ship when we are at sea, as well as executing the navigation plan for the Navigating Officer. As a 24 year old, it was very daunting the first few times I “took the ship” to have the lives of the 200 or so Officers and Sailors on board literally in my hands. 
Last year Hobart was privileged to proceed on a Regional Presence Deployment for approximately three months in South East Asia, where we visited three different countries (Philippines, Japan, Singapore), in seven port visits, conducting regional engagements with our maritime neighbours, and partaking in a number of international exercises with the aforementioned countries’ Navies, as well as the US Navy, RNZN, Indian Navy and Royal Canadian Navy.
I am lucky enough to have a very beautiful, loving understanding and sacrificing girlfriend, who is a property manager at a local Real Estate Agent in Sydney. We have been together for nearly two years and I am so proud of how much she supports my career, and how understanding and strong she is when we inevitably have to spend time apart when I am at sea.
I am the first member of my family to join the ADF in three generations, with my last immediate family being my great Grandfather, who served in the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in Rabaul in WW1. He was on board as an Officer’s Steward to Captain Pockley, who has been regarded as one of the first Australian casualties of WW1. The story goes that CAPT Pockley, a doctor, wore a Red Cross arm band in order for the Germans to show amnesty and not kill those members
as they were purely providing aid. He reportedly handed the arm band to my great Grandfather saying, “Take this, the German’s won’t shoot you”. CAPT Pockley subsequently passed away after being shot minutes later.
I was born in Victoria and am the eldest of two children, my sister being three years my junior. I went to school at the local private school and was a keen swimmer also in my youth, taking up rowing in secondary school. I started swimming as soon as I could float and continued into my teens where I became one of the strongest swimmers in my swimming school. At eight years and 10months of age, I became the youngest swimmer in the swimming school to complete their challenge 3km swim, completing it in just over an hour, an achievement I’m secretly proud of. 
Unfortunately, my studies and other hobbies took over and I never pursed swimming competitively past the age of 14. Rowing became a big part of my life and I wound up winning the premier regatta for school kids in my last two years at school. After graduating school, I continued as a coach of the junior squads in my school rowing club, and volunteering at the Australian Masters Rowing Championships. When I moved to Melbourne for university, I became a rower at a local club there too.
My Dad was perhaps my biggest inspiration to join the ADF, he fostered an interest in aviation at a young age, and as a civilian pilot, I had ample opportunity to go flying from a young age. I had an idea to become a fighter pilot in the RAAF and applied to join as soon as I finished school. Sadly, due to a number of reasons, I was repeatedly knocked back from joining somewhere along the recruitment process, but that never deterred me and I continued to apply in a number of different roles. Eventually, with tonsillitis hampering my ability to even speak a full sentence, I dosed up on anti-inflammatory medicine and sat my Officer Selection Board to join the Navy as a Maritime Warfare Officer. 
Obviously, I impressed the board members enough and was lucky enough to join in the middle of 2019. I spent my first six months was at HMAS Creswell learning how to be an Officer in the RAN, and then moved to HMAS Watson to continue my training and learn how to drive a warship. This training culminated at the end of 2021, after 2 ½ years, where I was finally awarded my Bridge Warfare Certificate, officially qualifying me to drive a Major Fleet Unit at sea in peacetime and wartime. I then joined Hobart at the commencement of 2022. 
Following this posting, I am scheduled to move to Newcastle to become Fighter Controller, controlling and coordinating an air battle above a maritime environment. I am grateful how you have managed to capture my interests and career aspirations in the quilt you have
made, blue and orange being my favourite colours since a young child. The motorsport section is inspired by my passion for all things cars and racing, my dad having been racing in Historic Touring Cars for nearly 30 years now. I was introduced to racing as a 4-week-old baby, attending a race meeting to “help out’ dad.
I fondly remember being about one or two sitting in my dad’s race seat, his gloves going right up my tiny arms, with a big set of earmuffs squishing my face together. Sadly, I can’t seem to find the photo to show you. Recently I have started to take up racing myself, entering my car into sprint day events at Winton and Phillip Island in VIC Tailem Bend in SA and Wakefield Park in NSW. 
The interest in aviation obviously stems from my father also, and at the age of 14 I took up flying myself and became qualified to fly by myself before my 16th birthday. It was always a funny sight to see my Mum drive me to the airport because I wasn’t even old enough to have my Learner’s, and then swap seats as I took her flying! Of course, the Navy theme in the quilt is self-explanatory.
It was a pleasure to read your letter and thank you for introducing me to you and your family. We clearly share more than one connection, with my dad’s 1st cousin also being a keen sailor, competing in the Sydney to Hobart 20 times as the Sailing Master in “King Billy”. Although never being a front runner, he has always been passionate about sailing. 
I have attached an image of me holding my quilt with so much excitement in my eyes. I wanted to get back to you as soon as I could, and I only received this quilt a couple of days ago!
Thank you so much for making the quilt, I absolutely love it. I look forward to hearing back from you!
Yours sincerely,


Good morning Bev F,


It was a lovely surprise to receive the beautiful patchwork quilt last week at work that you made for me.  Thank you so much for you incorporating all the things I enjoy especially my little Cavoodle Simba. 


You are lucky to have travelled to some amazing places over the years and seem to have a busy yet rewarding life with your family, sewing and lawn bowls.


Thank you again and I wish you all the best for the future. 




Hello Marilyn S,


I have just returned from an exercise in the Northern Territory. Thank you very much for the laundry bag, it is excellent. The lanyard and cap will also come in handy as well.


I do know Stawell, because I ran in the carnival in the early 1980s. I also went rock climbing many times in the Grampians. I am originally North East Victoria and my wife is from Ringwood. We have two sons, one in his second last year of medicine and the other in his last year of law at Newcastle University.


I was a Physical Training Instructor for 20 years and I have been an Administrative Officer for seven years. 


We have lived in each state in Australia and had ten house moves in twelve years at one stage.


Once again thank you very much for your time and skilled effort in making this laundry bag. The bag will be put to good use on future deployments.


Kind Regards


Dear Jan-Maree and Team,


Like many in the ADF I served multiple tours in the Middle East.  One of my favourite mementos is my handmade laundry bag, which still sees use in my house to this day.  Thank you so much for your kindness and support, it meant a lot to me both at the time and still today 


Dear Pat G,


All I can say is thank you. When I put the request in suggesting a RAAF and ATC themed blanket I had no idea how you would do it, but you have gone and created it, far exceeding what I thought could be done. I love the way you incorporated the ATC Tower into the design. The stitching topped it off with clouds and aeroplanes as well. They actually took  me a while to realise they were there as I was blown away by the front.


Thank you for what you do for all of us who are deployed wherever that may be.  Mail delivery day here is a highlight of the week, we all love seeing what has been created. These quilts definitely brighten up our otherwise very dull rooms.  


A bit about myself. I am currently normally posted in Victoria where I have been for some time now.  I am just coming up to the halfway point of my deployment. I am married with 3 teenage children. I have been in Defence for 7 years, joining as an Air Traffic Controller. This was after failed attempts at being a pilot. It was clear I needed a job with my feet firmly planted on the ground. I love my job in Air Traffic and love turning up each day wondering what aircraft I will see each day. I too am originally from QLD, growing up in the northern suburbs of Brisbane. We make the drive every Christmas from VIC to QLD and always make a stop in Canberra. I just can’t drive past the Olive View Café in Collector without stopping for the dumplings. Yum!


Thank you again for the time and the special touches you put into creating my quilt.


Wishing you the best of health and happiness,



Dear Michelle T,

I love it! It now has prime position at the end of my bed. I can now get rid of the standard issue laundry bag! I pretty much love it too much to use for laundry.

No “Dog ate my homework” warranty required but I’ll never say no to sweet stuff. I guess it happened by accident but Cherry Ripe’s are my fav!

 The team were right, I was deployed over Christmas. The bag arrived just before Christmas in the last postal delivery of the year. PERFECT TIMING!

 I’m going to take a stab and say that while working, studying and with 2 children you are very busy. So thank you for taking the time out of your day to create these. You are right, they do help create a little happy space in our otherwise very boring room with the extra colour. Some of the requests I have seen go in can be a bit out there and each mail delivery we love getting together and seeing what has been created. Good Times!

 A little bit about me. I grew up in North Brisbane, where I met my wife and now have 3 teenage kids. Many years ago I decided I wanted to chase my childhood dream of being a pilot. Turns out, I’m no good at flying so needed something where my feet would be firmly planted on the ground. So Air Traffic Control it was. 

Being in Defence is unique but I love my job. I have been lucky and been in the one place in Victoria for the last 7 years. Probably time for a posting soon. Newcastle/Williamtown would be good, or Townsville so I can get out of the cold and as an added bonus can go watch the Cowboys play in person. I love watching Rugby League. My eldest daughter jumped ship and started supporting the Canberra Raiders a few years back. Pretty sure it was just so she could be against me. Lol. Canberra V Nth Qld games get very emotional at home. 

My sewing skills never developed after making an odd shaped pencil case and a pretty average looking apron back in grade 8 home economics. Thanks for what you do. It definitely makes a positive impact on morale on deployment for ADF members.

 I wish you the best of health and happiness. All the best to your children of the new school year.

 Take care,


Until next week keep your letters, emails and photos coming in.  


Tuesday’s would be so totally boring without them!





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