Grati-Tuesday 9 May 17

Written by AHQ

9 May 2017

We have been doing this for over five years now… that amazes me when I stop and think about it. One of the nice things, for me at least, is that some of our past recipients are returning on deployment again. Whilst that might not be so great for their families, it is part of life in the defence force these days and for me, it is like welcoming old friends back.. at least to my email inbox.

I deal with the chaplains a lot usually and one of them who we looked after when he deployed with HMAS Darwin is now back in the Middle East, this time landbased.  He really values what we do and made sure to contact me not long after he arrived. Here is part of his recent email to me…

“Each time I wash I notice a few quilts.  Actually spoke to one guy and he has had his laundry bag now for, I think it was 4 years, and he takes it with him on every deployment and every holiday he goes – that is cool!  And just so you know I do the same – I have my Simpson’s laundry bag here with me now – never get my washing confused with anyone’s :-)”

I love the stories that evolve with the quilts and laundry bags once they come home from deployment. Some go straight on the wall, some to sofas, some never leave their recipient’s side, being kept in their car, their office or their go bag.

Enjoy tonight’s messages… not many photos but plenty of genuine messages.

Hi Jan-Maree
I received my Aussie Hero Quilt today. It arrived safe and sound.
My thanks to you and the team who take the time to make these wonderful quilts.
This quilt was made by Mary and Nola 
Dear Nanna Ray and Rubyjack,

I’d like to start off by saying a big thank you for my wonderful quilt, to have a keepsake from this trip really does mean a lot to me, I’ll get into the reason why a bit later in this letter.

It was great to hear from you both and read a bit of background into who had put in the effort to make quilts for serving members of the ADF operationally deployed overseas, all of  on board are very grateful for your efforts.

I come from a family with a lot of history in the ADF, having ancestors fighting in WWI and WWII, My grandfather, my hero, spent over 30 years in the Army, which he done 2 tours of Vietnam and reached the rank of WO class 1 before retiring. My Grandmother also served in the Army as a WRAAC. I have fond memories as a young child staying at their house and being fascinated by their medals which they had displayed on their dresser in their bedroom. I guess this is where my desire to continue on the family tradition of joining the services.

My mother and father met whilst both serving in the Army, my father in artillery, and had done a tour of Afghanistan in the early 90’s, my mother was a clerk, and my uncle also enlisted in the Army however the service life wasn’t for him and he did not stay in for his whole initial period of service.

It took me almost 10 years in the Navy for me to be deployed to an operational area, I had a few missed chances which disappointed me, being the 5th generation in a row to serve, an operational deployment was high on my priority as my family before me had done, I guess I wanted to live up to what they had already done. This is why having a keepsake from this deployment means so much to me, so I thank you again for being able to provide that to me. 

I have attached a picture at the bottom of this email of me with the quilt as requested.

Forever grateful,


Good morning Joan and Robin

Thank you for my laundry bag!! i absolutely love it!!, Sorry for the late reply to your email but we had mail issue ashore that we didn’t receive some parcels for over 2 months. I love my laundry bag so very much, its the best one in my mess for sure. As soon as i opened it up i loved it. Darth Vader is my favourite character in star wars and the empire is my favourite side in the star wars universe.

I am currently base at garden island WA and I can’t wait to be home from this trip back to Australia, its a very long time to be away from loved ones and friends.

I’ve seen some interesting sights over here and had some fun adventures but its not the same as Australia. The weather here has just changed, it was winter which would be 28 degrees in the sun but now its summer over here and its 36 in the sun and getting hotter. Its going to keep getting hotter over here, I cant wait to come home to a WA winter where it will be nice and cold. We have just hit our 3 month mark and well be back in AUS, its been a long trip being away and i know receiving your packages from back home makes everyone happy. It feels like we have a piece of Australia with us and that we know someone back home is thinking of us. I thank you so very much for this laundry bag, i love and i use it every day. i will keep using it as well throughout out my career in the navy as it is such a good bag i have to keep using it.

I hope all is well for you back home and i cant thank you enough.

Kind regards

Dear Beth,

Thank you for the time and effort that both you and Mary have put into the quilt.
The effort that you wonderful ladies give is greatly appreciated. The lollies you have sent I’m going to pass on to the local children hopefully bringing a little bit of joy to someone else. They will be greatly appreciated. I love the quilt and putting it to good use. Please pass on my thanks to Mary and I hope the both of you have had a great Easter. Thank you for all the ladies in your organisation supporting the troops, it is and always will be greatly appreciated.

Yours sincerely


Hello Julie-Ann

I just want to say a massive thank you for the Laundry bag that I received today.  It puts smiles on peoples faces when a package turns up just for them and I hope you realise how much you are appreciated for doing this gesture.
Thank you again and best wishes for the future.

G’day Ruth,

Thanks for the laundry bag!  I received it in the mail today.  Something we’ve found over here is that it’s rather handy having something distinctive.  Once I get home it will go to my daughter for her use – she’s fascinated by dinosaurs and reptiles more broadly.  Your efforts are greatly appreciated and it certainly did brighten my day.




Thank you very much for the LB it is great. I am so glad that this project brought back memories for you and gave you some pleasure as well. Reading your letter amused me greatly especially the part about warming the rotor up in the mornings…… i am still dealing with irate neighbors on this one. I have attached some pictures of a few of my RX7’s and yes i have owned a fair amount of them. I am also very appreciative of the munchies and stuff that you sent along with the laundry bag. I happened to get time off just after your package arrived to attend the F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain and the numerous snacks came in very handy indeed. I am not a man of many words and my writing skills are quite atrocious, so i will leave it at that. Once again thank you very much and thanks for the “mum” kisses too. lol

Kindest regards


Good Morning

Just a quick email that say thank you very much to you for my beautiful Aussie Hero laundry bag I received last night.

I really appreciate all the time and effort you have put towards it. It is hard to explain what is it like to receive such a lovely and personnel gift off people you do not know, but trust me we all appreciate it very much. I am sure your sister has said the same thing.

I am onboard HMAS Aurnta. We are serving in the Middle East Region. This extended deployment is the first for the RAN in some 30 years. We left in Nov 16 meaning we have missed Xmas, NYE, ANZAC day, Easter and I will also have my 30th birthday at sea next month. Missing events such as these is made easier knowing there are people like you at home who appreciate what we are doing for our country and its people.  

Thanks again, my laundry bag will be used onboard for the rest of our deployment.


Good afternoon Kate,

(Although I guess it’s night where you are.) Thank you very much for the fantastic quilt. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t anything as magnificent as what I received. I love that you’ve managed to capture all the ‘main players’ of the series in your design. (Rincewind’s a bit of a sentimental favourite, and even though his narrative arcs sort of dried up in the later novels, it’s nice to see him immortalised in fabric.) Especially love the look of Death. The longer I look at it the more intricate stuff I keep spotting. Like the turtles stitched around the edges, and the writing about A’Tuin, and little extras next to the characters and so on. I’ve already taken the opportunity to brag to all my friends back home that I’ve got what is almost certainly, with no exaggeration, the greatest Discworld themed quilt ever, and they’re all eager to see a photo of it once I manage to get one taken and uploaded.

Thanks once again, it’s obvious that a proverbial mountain of love and effort went into the quilt, and I’m absolutely thrilled with it. Thanks to your family as well for letting you take several hours to send a gift to a total stranger.


Dear Thelma

Everyone is safe and well over here. I hope this letter finds you and Michael happy and well too.

When I received your care package it brought instant joy. ! Sometimes the days are long and repetitive over here so it’s exciting to hear from people back in Australia , as well as receive some goodies .

Thank you so much for my Quilt and Laundry Bags ( yes plural ) !! I am beyond words that you kindly donate your time to make Quilt and Laundry Bags for the  ADF personnel, let alone to make a second Laundry Bag to  meet someone’s special request. J

You have made such beautiful Quilt and Laundry Bags .You have a creative eye : I love all the colours you have used , as well as the beautiful jewellery box you made for the Tiffany& Co . Laundry Bag

I absolutely love the Sibling Set , it is such a moving concept. Because we are away from our families for so long we often call the people around us “ our deployed family ‘you have kept this tradition going and expanded my deployed family, so thank you.

 Once again thank you kindly 


Dear Thelma,

I received your Aussie Hero Quilt today (27 Apr 17) in the mail and you have done an outstanding job!!!!! I am very pleased  and I know my wife will like it as well.

I will not hold it against you that you drive a Holden, hahahah but don’t tell anybody I have owned two in past years.(shhhhhh other people might hear me)
Once again thank you very much for(my quilt) I will cherish it for the rest of my life.

Kindest regards to yourself and husband Michael, Be safe.

Dear Thelma

Thank you so much for the awesome ‘Road Trip’ quilt. I am very touched and deeply grateful for the time and effort you have put into such a magnificent piece of work and I feel so very privileged to have received it. The message from Jan Maree basically asked what your hobbies were or perhaps some colours to help the quilter. I didn’t really know what to expect, but to say I’m thrilled to bits would be putting it mildly!! It is most humbling to receive such a lovely and thoughtful gift from an Aussie back home who wouldn’t know me from a bar of soap, so a very heart-felt thank you indeed.

Thank you also for the letter and lovely lollies – always a winner! It is wonderful to learn a little about the generous person who bestowed such a fantastic quilt and laundry bag upon me. A little about me in return. A few months ago I had my 52nd Birthday over here. Crikey, that seems so old when you have to write it down, but I certainly don’t feel it. I’m married and we have two wonderful children, both at uni. In addition to our two wonderful kids we have a old basenji dog and a young cat.

I’m coming up to 33 years of service to our country. I started off as a soldier for 8 years before going through officer training at Duntroon. I’m in Medical Corps, but am not a clinician. I’m probably closer to a Hospital Administrator with a good dose of logistician thrown in. I was the Commanding Officer of one of our field hospitals a few years ago. This is my seventh deployment. I have deployed on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Regional Assistance, Peace Keeping and Warlike missions to the Sinai, East Timor, Solomon Islands, Pakistan, Indonesia, Afghanistan and am currently back in the Middle East in the mission against ISIS/Daesh. My shortest deployment was one month and this one will be a bit over nine months. The time away from family and friends is hard, but they are a wonderful support to me and I love what I do.

The quilt is a wonderful reminder of my passion and the generosity of a very selfless Australian. It is by being on such operations that you truly appreciate how good we have things back home. As I cover myself to sleep each night, it will remind me that we are certainly from the Lucky Country filled with wonderful people from all walks of life, who we embrace as Aussies. And that is worth fighting for. Thank you so much for your support.

With thanks and warm wishes



I hope this e-mail finds you well,

Thank you very much for the quilt, it is was everything plus more than what I asked for !!! I have seen the tremendous amount of effort put into other quilts from my ship mates and they all are wonderful.  I’m not sure how the flow of communications work but if you could let the other ladies know that it has been received and it is exactly what I wanted, that would be greatly appreciated.  As of right now we are coming to the home stretch of our deployment, while it is still extremely hot up in the region we are deployed in, coming back home and going into winter months, the quilt will be a warm welcome back home.

Thanks again and regards,

Good morning Anne,

I was the very lucky recipient of the most amazing quilt that you so kindly made for me.

I am not sure that I could find enough words to express how grateful I am for the time and effort you have put into making the quilt, I have not stopped looking at it since it arrived yesterday.  

I am currently working night shift and as such, starting working at midnight is often quite emotional!   The lady I took over from informed me that a package had arrived for me.  Soon after taking over the shift, I opened the package and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The excitement and joy set the scene for the remaining 10 hours of my shift, it was by far one of the best night shifts I have done since arriving here in early January.  I can’t thank you enough for the quilt.

It was great to read your letter and gain a bit of an understanding about these amazing ladies who give up their time and resources to make quilts and laundry bags as part of the Aussie Hero project.  

I am married and together we have 3 children.  I joined the Navy at the age of 16 and am just about to complete 30 years of service. While I love the Navy, my passion is for aviation and thus the request for an aviation themed quilt. My son is currently learning to fly at the RAAF Base Richmond flying  club. He has approximately 10 hours of flying under his belt and has another 10 or so hours booked in over the next few months.  His dream is to join the RAAF and fly C-17, so it was even more special to read that your son in-law once flew the C-17.

My oldest daughter very much loves craft and has often spoken about learning how to quilt. Having seen my quilt via Skype early on Tuesday morning, she was so motivated that yesterday after school she visited our local sewing shop and booked in for classes commencing this weekend.

My other daughter is more into cooking but so amazed by the quilt that she too said that she should look into learning how to quilt.

My wife was so touched by the generosity of the Aussie Hero program. She worked on Richmond RAAF Base for approximately 9 years and only just left to have some time off, so she was well aware of  Aussie Heroes having seen many of the quilts shown to her by the uniformed personnel she worked alongside.

I will arrange to have some photos taken of me holding the quilt and will ensure I send them to you. I did notice on the back of the quilt that Shirley B was also involved in this marvellous creation. I don’t have any contact details for Shirley. If you happen to know of her, could you please either pass on this email or drop me her email address please ?

 Thanks again Anne, you made my day, I am so grateful for what you have achieved. The quilt is amazing and goes beyond what I ever expected was possible.



To Friends of Aussie Heroes Quilts,

Thank you to all of you – particularly Thelma – who dedicate your talent and time to making these incredible quilts. My husband has just received his and is delighted: you may have received an email from him already. We recently met up for two weeks mid-deployment holiday and he mentioned his friends’ quilts and how he was anticipating his own quilt with such excitement. I have friends with husbands with PTSD and it is joy and fun that disappears so for you lovely people to be bringing those elements, plus comfort, support and compassion to these folk is so very generous. 

I am sure you each have your own reasons for supporting this cause but please know your efforts are really cherished. 

With heartfelt thanks,


Hello Jill,

I am replying to you in regards to the magnificent quilt that was received.

The quilt and laundry bag are fantastic, they will both hang proudly in my new bar area upon my return. Your interpretation was perfect, my wife and I are both from the country and our house definitely has a country antique feel, the quilt will fit in perfectly.

Thank-you very much for your time and effort spent on such a lovely quilt and bag.

We serve to protect what we love. 

Dear Clarissa

Thank so much for the laundry bag, it looks fantastic. I received it in the last mail drop and it definitely put a smile on my face. It definitely is great to know that people are still thinking of us over here

A bit about myself, I have been in the Navy for 15 years and have deployed numerous times around the world. I am married with three children, daughter 3 and 8 month old twins. The twins were born 3 months before we deployed and just recently I was able to go home for some leave and the amount they have grown is  huge. They are definitely on the move and getting into everything. I come from a military family. My farther spent 42 years in the Army and is now living his dream, living on a yacht in the Whitsundays with my mother, who was a teacher in North Queensland for 40 years. My brother has also recently left the Army and lives in Perth with his family.

The reason I asked for a EH Holden theme bag is my wife, bought me a 1964 EH Holden Station Wagon before we left Australia as a Wedding, Christmas and Birthday present. It needs a lot of work but I am looking forward to spending some time with the whole family as they grow up in the shed.

Again thank you so much for the time and effort you put into sewing my laundry bag, it will definitely be one of the first things I pack when I next deploy.

Hi Ruth, 

I am currently deployed to Operation OKRA flying for the Air Task Group. 

I received your laundry bag a few days ago, and it absolutely blew me away! I love it so much. It’s more of a piece of art than a laundry bag, I’ve got it hanging on the wall! 

Funnily enough, the beer brands you selected are some of my favourites! The work that has evidently gone into producing the bag is incredible. I can’t thank you enough!! The pattern of the aircraft and air force theme looks amazing. And the initials on the front will definitely ensure the laundry gremlins don’t accidentally take my socks by mistake! 

I seriously appreciate all the effort you have gone into to put it all together. It is something I’m proud to now own, and I can’t wait to show my family when I arrive home in Australia in the coming month.  

I will have to get a photo of the bag and send it through over the next couple of days! 

Thanks again,  


Hi Clarissa,

I was the lucky recipient of your laundry bag from Aussie Hero Quilts! I wanted to say a sincere thank you for the time and effort you put into it.

I’m currently serving in Malaysia on RCB 117 for 3 months. My job here is Ammunition Supply; normally I live and work in XXXXX, and it was lovely to receive something from Australia.

I also have a classical ballet background but I gave it up to serve in the Army. My boyfriend and I like to go hiking and camping and we have recently been to Singapore to catch up during my weeks break from working over here.

Thanks again for the laundry bag; it means a lot to us to receive a little recognition for our work away from home.


Dear Jenny,

Thank you very much for the wonderful quilt.  It is perfect and I take it with me everywhere I go.

I enjoyed reading your thoughtful letter. .

I am a Civil engineer in the Royal Australian Engineers.  I am 28 years old and I have been in the Army for 10 years.

This includes 5 years in Canberra at the Royal Military College Duntroon, and at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

This is my first deployment outside of Australia.  As a civil engineer my role is to deliver infrastructure. 

  I spend time at a lot of different bases, so it’s great to have a comforting homely item with me – your quilt that you made me.  Everyone comments on how nice and well-made it is!  The  Aussie motifs remind me of home and my property in Goulburn.  I very much look forward to being there again, sipping a coffee on a

Sunday morning while looking out over the southern tablelands.

At the time of writing this letter, I had one week left of my deployment.  I am feeling tired but nonetheless proud of what I have achieved.

I have had your quilt for about 2.5 months, so I apologise for the late reply.

Rest assured, the quilts are very well received and do a great deal for morale and motivation.

It’s comforting to know that people back home are thinking about us.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to make a quilt and write me a letter.

All the best and take care.

Yours sincerely,
and to finish this young man came to collect his quilt and quilts for his team as their requests did not get passed to me in time to get their quilts to them whilst they were deployed.
He sat at our dining table and I had the quilts for his team sitting on the table, each inside their laundry bags. His eye were drawn to his which was sitting on top.
Needless to say, he loved it! Well done Bridget!

Til next time….. keep spreading the word and happy stitching.
Jan-Maree xx

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  1. Abby N Jack Quilts

    I Love reading these posts every week…warms the heart & makes being involved with Aussie Heroes Quilts all the more worthwhile.

  2. Sue Niven

    I echo exactly what Abby wrote. Beautiful words indeed.

  3. Unknown

    Such heart warming messages…. well done all AHQ sewers and quilters and well done to the recipients for their service to our beautiful country.


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