Grati-Tuesday 16 July 19

Written by AHQ

16 July 2019

Hi All,

I am back from Perth and welcoming home HMAS Ballarat.  I had a great time as always. It is very special to be among the families and friends when the ships come home and HMAS Ballarat had a very successful deployment.  They seized over 1.4 billion dollars worth of drugs as well as countless weapons and sailed over 41000 nautical miles.   Thank you very much to the crew for inviting me to Perth to be there when they came home.

For now, enjoy these messages… 

Dear Bridget,
A quick email to say thank you for the stunning quilt you took the time to make for me! I couldn’t be more thrilled to be the recipient of such a beautiful design, so I’m very appreciative.
I enlisted into the Air Force in 2013, straight from high school. I was in limbo, not quite sure what I wanted to study at University and decided to take a ‘gap’ year and earn some money with the ADF in the meantime. I’m still here six years on, with no plans on leaving. The Air Force has offered me some amazing opportunities, so I have found my career as an Administration Clerk extremely rewarding to-date.

I am currently deployed within the UAE; it is extremely hot and dusty, but it is an honour to be here. A complete contrast weather-wise to where I’m from back in Australia (Canberra), my husband’s rugged up in -2 degrees, and I’m sweltering in the high 40’s! You’ll be pleased to know the Aussies are looked after pretty well now, too. It’s funny actually, our camp has some plants and grass and this has caused some envy from the coalition whose camps are practically sandpits. It’s the small things that make it. The days are long, and my brain is fried come 6pm, but we have a great team who supports each other so I would consider ourselves lucky.  

I’m married and we have two little dogs. We got married in February this year, and I left for deployment not long after. We’ll have spent majority of our first year of marriage connected via Skype. Very thankful for technology!

I will leave it there, thanks again. Opening your package really brightened my day.
Warm regards,


Dear Cathie,
Thank you so much. Not only is it a fantastic quilt, you added a laundry bag as well. I am so humbled by your generosity.
If I could say thank you in every language of the world, I would. You have reinforced the reasoning for what we are doing to support people of the world who are not as fortunate as we Australians and helping them to a better future.
A little about the ‘soldier’ who the quilt (and laundry bag) was made for (so the children and grand-children can be told): I have served in the Australian Army for 25 years, joining straight out of high school, in Sydney. I currently live in the Scenic Rim with my wife, three children and our black kelpie. 
I have enjoyed my time as a soldier and there will be many more years of soldiering to come. The best part is knowing that there are people in Australia supportive of what we need to do as soldiers.
While not soldiering I enjoy football (soccer), playing, coaching and spectating. I also enjoy LEGO, something that I can create with and let my children play with for hours and let them modify it and make my original creation so much more fun.
I am also a fan of dragons and have passed this love of mythical (or not) creatures onto my children.
I live on a small property and enjoy the hard labour that comes with maintaining a chaotic household while trying to keep the ever encroaching bush a bay. I love the flock of cockatoos that sail across the sky in the afternoon, screeching then landing on my mandarin tree for a gorge of not yet ripe mandarins. We have wallabies nearby and small eastern grey kangaroos that are often found grazing on my “I need to mow that” lawn. We have had a few snakes, but nothing too serious and the shed is full of boxes and “stuff” that has been collected over years of moving around.
I look forward to returning to Australia and know that the quilt will be used when sitting in my favourite reading chair (yet to be bought) while reading about dragons.


Good Evening Jan Maree & Team,
Thank you so much for the beautiful quilt and laundry bag. It was a big surprise as I didn’t know my wife had requested one for me!
The work you do makes a big difference for us deployed personnel, it is humbling to know that a team of dedicated and special volunteers do all this just for us.
I am an Air Traffic Controller in the RAAF also, this is my first deployment to the MER which has been exciting, challenging and busy. I have just weeks left until I get to see my family again. To say I can’t wait is an understatement!
I’ve emailed the lovely volunteers to thank them. Thank you doesn’t seem like enough.
Once again. Thank you and I/we appreciate all that yourself and the AHQ team does for us deployed personnel!!
Warmest Regards,

and from the same recipient to his quilter

Good Evening Sandy and AHQ team in Coffs Harbour,

Thank you so much for the amazing and thoughtful quilt, it was a big surprise as I didn’t know I had one coming!

It has certainty lightened up my room and I’ll cherish it forever. The work your team does make a lot of difference, it has certainty made my day!

I hope all is well back home, I have just weeks left and cannot wait to be reunited with my wife and 2 year old. I can’t wait to show them this lovely quilt and tell them all about the incredible team that made it.

Thank you from a very grateful and humble member of the ADF.

Warmest Regards,


Hi Pennie,
I received the quilt and laundry bag last week while I was on leave following my deployment. I just wanted to say a quick thank you for taking the time to make these for myself. I love them! And the quilt has been put to instant use, It’s great to sit under and watch some TV or play xbox.
I believe you may have seen some photos of Walter also checking out my quilt??
It means a lot when we receive things like this on deployment.  
I’ve currently been in the Army for the past almost 15 yrs and have done 3 jobs in that time and deployed 4 times.
Again thank you for what you do I know everyone loves the quilts and laundry bags we all receive.

Dear Fran
Firstly I would just like to let you know that I absolutely love what you have done and thank you very much.  I was planning on hand writing this, then decided to type in the end as I have horrible handwriting and this allows me to add a few photos also.
I am very grateful for the time and effort you have put into this quilt and I’m sure my partner is going to love it also when she sees it.  No doubt it can be challenging being a defence partner but I do thank you for everything you do for your chosen charities.
A quick background on myself, I am originally from the outskirts of Sydney and I joined the RAAF in 2013 as a firefighter.  My training took me to Wagga NSW, Amberley Qld and I have been posted to Williamtown (Newcastle NSW) and Tindal NT.  Just a few months before I left for my deployment we got ourselves a puppy that we have wanted for a long time now.  His name is Bruce and he is keeping my partner company whilst I am away.
I am deployed to the Middle East Region as part of Coalition Fire and Rescue where we work alongside our colleagues from Great Britain.  This has been a great experience so far interacting with new people and learning lots of new things.
I thank you again for your time, effort and ongoing support.

Hi Pennie
Just wanted to write a quick email to let you know I got your laundry bag and goodies on Sunday!
It is of beautiful quality, I cant believe you even went to the trouble to line it and everything! I love the colours and the patterns.
Thank you for the notes on tacking my initials on the bag. I would never want to waste such a beautiful bag, so im sure my daughter will get some great use out of it too – eventually, shes only 6
I loved all the treats you put in the bag. It was nice to see some familiar things especially the tim tams. They have them over here but they taste terrible. Actually all the chocolate over here tastes terrible sigh.
Geez, I could never do your job, so thank you for your service too.
Again, thank you for your beautiful laundry bag, it is very much appreciated and I will get great use out of it. Put a smile on my face.

Good Evening Sue,

Thank you so much for the lovely laundry bag that you put together for Aussie Hero Quilts! It was quite a surprise, I didn’t know my wife had organised it! It really put a smile on my face – the work you guys do is amazing and means a lot to us all deployed.

Hopefully Adelaide isn’t too cold at the moment, I’m based in Canberra so it will be a shock to my system returning from 50+ degree heat!

I’ve tried to read a lot since I’ve been here, I have a 2 year old so don’t normally have the time. I enjoy it so I will have to make time when I get home. No more nights in front of the tv might help!

Your puppy sounds lovely, I’m sure he enjoys helping out in the garden. I’m looking forward to doing a bit of that when I get home too!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time out to make such a special item. I’ll cherish it forever.

All the best


Hi Kerry,
I am so sorry it has taken me so long to send you a thank you letter. I have been extremely busy and work between 2 bases in the Middle East Region. I absolutely love my laundry bag, you did an amazing job! Quite a few of us have received laundry bags / quilts from Aussie Hero Quilts and we all proudly show them to our mates and display them proudly in the laundry room.

Your package came at the perfect time, I was having a bit of a tough day, missing my family back home.  Knowing we have support not only from our friends and families, but also from others such as yourself really helps a lot. The laundry bag, goodies and your letter really lifted my spirits and I can not thank you enough for your kindness and generosity. I really appreciate it.

One thing I miss about being away from home is greenery, there is pretty much just sand here.

Thank you once again for taking the time making us your incredible laundry bags.

Dear Jan-Maree,
I was over the moon to receive your laundry bag in the mail, it’s beautiful. I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you.  
By way of introduction, I am currently serving on Operation Accordion in the Middle East Region as a Watch Keeper in the Base Command Post.

Everyone in my office were all in awe of my stunning quilt and laundry bag and have all requested one as well.
I sincerely hope that you had an amazing support network like Aussie Hero Quilts to support you while you were serving.

It is challenging to be away from friends and family and I wholeheartedly thank you for your contribution to supporting deployed Australian Forces. I very much appreciate your effort, time and thought you put into the laundry bag.

You are truly amazing!
Kind regards,
Hi Gay,
I just quickly wanted to thank you for my wonderful quilt which I received yesterday during my stay at the Concord Repatriation General Hospital which the one-and-only Jan-Maree Ball dropped off to me in a visit. I hope you don’t mind but I got your details from her to thank you.

Just very quickly about myself, I am a serving member of the New South Wales Police Force and an Australian Army Reservist for over 20 years in both jobs (yes I like uniforms!) and live in Sydney. I am married to Stefanie who works at the Sydney Opera House and we’re about to be parents for the first time in August 2019.

I’ve had a bit of a health scare which has seen me spending my second week in hospital but your quilt is doing wonders for my recovery at the moment. I’m currently in a ward where I am probably the youngest person here by about 25 years as most of the other patients here are a bit older and they’re trying to sort out an imbalance with my immune system which has caused dramas with my insides (hence the extended stay).

Anyhow I was a recipient of the Aussie Heroes generosity back in 2015 when I was deployed to Iraq, so I know the wonderful work that volunteers like you who give up their own time and resources for people you have never met and how your work keeps the spirits of our men and women overseas.

I now also realise since my hospitalisation, the thoughtful creation that you have created has given me that added bit of hope and morale to get back on my feet. I am lucky that I am relatively close to home when I got admitted to hospital but as close as I was, the stale white surgical state of my room can be a bit hard to keep your spirits up, so the quilt with the colour and love is a real shot in the arm to me as it’s a reminder of home with the change of the décor.

It’s also a great conversation starter with the staff here at the hospital as they all admire the love involved in creating it and it makes the day pass quicker especially as it’s a bit different from the everyday here.

It’s amazing how little things can help the big picture, and your gift is doing wonders and I hope to be out soon however your quilt will be with me from now on.

Anyhow, I will write to you properly once I get out of here where I would love to tell you more about myself and my family and also know a little bit more about the person who has made this wonderful quilt.

I’ve taken the liberty to take a couple of photos of the quilt for your reference and hoping to make contact soon.

Hi Lesley,
I would just like to say thank you for all your hard work and kind words. The laundry bag is great and way better than I ever expected. To top it off you even sent me Tim Tams (of which I will eat the whole pack in one sitting lol).  Currently I live in NSW with my beautiful wife and three children. I wish you and your family all the best in the future 


Transit Security Element 92 (TSE 92), a component of Operation Resolute, augments security capability for Royal Australian Navy and Australian Border Force vessels. Operation Resolute is the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the Whole-of-Government effort to protect Australia’s borders and offshore maritime interests. TSE 92 is composed of approximately 50 full time members of the Royal Australian Navy and members from 5th Brigade NSW Army Reserve units.

Members of Transit Security Element 92 show their laundry bags from the volunteers of Aussie Hero Quilts, at HMAS Coonawarra, Darwin, NT.

If you would like to see a Hi Res copy of this photo please let me know. 


Hey Bridget 
I just received your quilt that you did for me thankyou heaps for it. Everyone was getting excited and morale was getting high when they started to roll in.
I’m also married and I have a baby due to arrive in October. So the quilt that you made for me will be my sons to grow up with.
Funny thing is my room mate got the quilt I believe your daughter made.
Thanks again all us soldiers appreciate what you guys do for us.


I must give you humble apologies for the lateness of this reply. I had every intention to write a personal letter in response to the absolutely magnificent job you have done on my laundry bag. Unfortunately time got away from me and I have realised that some time has passed since I received this bag and I am no closer to putting pen to paper. So I am going to use email to again express my gratitude to yourself for your efforts. 

I am overwhelmed with  your kindness and generosity in doing this as part of the Aussie Hero Quilts and laundry bags. I was stunned with the design and while it has taken me a little while to actually put dirty clothes in it, I am now the envy of the laundry. 

I currently live in QLD along with my wife and 3 children, one of which has had a near on life time desire to join the Navy of all the services. He is currently a few weeks from turning 16 and is counting down the days until he also can serve Australia’s interests.. I have been in the RAAF for just over 30 years now and this is my first deployment. 

Having now been over here for nearly 3 months ( close to halfway now) I have been dumbfounded by the outpouring of gratitude and  generosity of Australians in not just the Aussie Quilts but in care packages sent to deployed forces with touches of home along with pictures drawn by schoolchildren and by the general public that adorn the fridges of the smoko areas across the Middle East and others areas that Australian Servicemen and women are serving.
Again, Thank you very much.


Hi Melinda!
I received your packages yesterday in our weekly mail run.
Thank you so much for the quilt and laundry bag they are so beautiful and I love them! 
The laundry bag is nice and big and I’m using it already!
Thank you for all the effort you put in to making these lovely gifts for me it put such a big smile on my face and everyone in the office was very keen to see what I got. 
Thanks also for the pocket hearts they are a beautiful idea. I feel like you know me some how because I looove colouring in and looove Tim Tams too haha
Even though it’s really hot over here it’s actually pretty cold in our tents as we have to have the air con blasting so the quilt will actually get used haha.
I have a group on Facebook with my family and I sent them some photos of the quilt you made and they all loved it too. My mum misses me very much and thought how lovely it was for a stranger to make such a kind gesture to Defence members. My Auntie makes similar quilts so I told her to have a look into Aussie Hero Quilts.
I really can’t thank you enough this means a lot to me. You sound like you have a lovely family.
I wish you all the best,

Good morning Helen,
This short note is to thank you for the laundry bag you created. I was lucky enough to select it prior to our departure from Australia on our current deployment to Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. I chose it particularly as it was so bright and I thought it would brighten up my night cabin, which is has done.
I appreciate the time you dedicate to Aussie Heroes, and thank you for your participation over so many years. I’m pleased you have managed to see what we do first hand during your visits to ships.
As the Commanding Officer of HMAS Leeuwin, a Cairns based survey ship, with a crew of almost 70 on board, the presentation of the laundry bags was a key event in gathering my Ship’s Company together before we deployed. It was a perfect time to inject a bit of fun and colour into the ship before we left our families behind.   While away, the ship conducts surveys of the sea floor to gather the depth and sediment type as well as tidal flow and patterns that will be used for either military purposes or to make charts for the world’s mariners to safely navigate. It is interesting and challenging work.
Again, thank you for the laundry bag, I really do appreciate the effort you all go to, to send your thoughts to those of in in the Defence Force.


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

Jan-Maree xx

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