Magnificent Melbourne

Written by ahq_admin

21 July 2014

Hi all.  
Time to catch you up on my fun and games in Melbourne.  It has been an absolutely wonderful trip.  it really makes a difference to get out from behind my desk and meet quilters and, especially to meet recipients. 
Of course I can’t do this all the time but it is well worth it when I do.  

I arrived in Melbourne on Thursday and that night I was the guest speaker at the North of the Yarra Quilt Group.  What a lovely, friendly bunch of ladies.  I was assisted in my presentation by Sue N who has been sewing for us for some time now.  Sue showed the quilts that she has made for HMAS Toowoomba crew members which saved me from taking quilts to show. I did take three quilt tops with me and a laundry bag to show.  There were lots of questions about the quilts and laundry bags so hopefully we have got a few new quilters now.  One lady made a point of talking to me as her husband is ex-Royal Navy and so she understood immediately the benefit of what we do.  She has already promised to get involved.  

On Friday morning I drove to Cranbourne, south of Melbourne, and met up with (from left to right) Sarah, her daughter, Rebecca and Eleanor.  

Sarah is married to the chaplain from HMAS Newcastle and she helped make quilts for the crew when they were deployed, as did Rebecca, her other daughter Emma and even her youngest, son Matthew.  Her friend, Eleanor also made some quilts for the ship.  It was lovely to meet them in person.

From Cranbourne I moved on to HMAS Cerberus. 

This is the Navy’s premier training establishment with about 6000 personnel undertaking training each year and around 800 trainees onboard at any one time. 

The base is 70km from Melbourne.  It was established in 1911 as Flinders Naval Depot and was commissioned in 1921 as HMAS Cerberus.   The primary role of the establishment has always been training Navy personnel but the establishment of four tri-service schools over the last 13 years means that personnel from all three services are now trained there.

HMAS Cerberus is named after the three headed dog in Greek and Roman mythology which guards the entrance to the underworld to prevent the dead from escaping.  Perhaps his job is to keep the recruits from escaping.  

Personally I think that HMAS Cerberus is a very beautiful base wonderful grounds and a many heritage buildings.  I always loved living in the Wardroom as the Officer’s Mess is called in the Navy.  The exterior of the building has hardly changed since I was last there in the early 1990’s
I love the lead light doors and the fabulous old leather couches with the classic artwork. The picture over the mantle place here depicts “Divisions”, or a parade, on the grass parade ground at HMAS Cerberus.  I wish I had taken a close up for you- I have done my fair share of those. 

I remember passing my 30th birthday in the bar sitting on these lovely leather couches.  

These are the front doors from the inside. Note the date …..EST 1915. 
I shared the following on Facebook but as I know there are some of you who don’t “do” Facebook please bear with me as I repeat it here.  My first posting in the Navy, after completing my Communications Officer’s Course was to HMAS Cerberus. At the completion of my posting, as it traditional, I presented the Wardroom with a gift. Often it is suggested that you give them a silver placemat or a pewter mug but I wanted to leave something of me behind so I embroidered the Naval Hymn and had it framed. I never saw where it was hung myself as I left the base the next day but I heard it was hung out side the dining room.  Nice to know it is still there 22 years later!  

Funny to say that I don’t remember it being that big!  

After visiting the Wardroom we made a quick visit to the Executive Officer who was gracious enough to welcome me into his office for a quick chat and a briefing on Aussie Heroes.  The Commander is now well aware of what Aussie Heroes offers to deployed members and promised to pass our details on to those he knows who are soon to deploy.  At his invitation I found our Facebook page for him on his ipad, just to be helpful I “liked” it for him too. 😀

Navy-specific training includes School of Survivability and Ship Safety, which specialises in firefighting, damage control and nuclear biological chemical defence, seamanship and weapons training. HMAS Cerberus is also the home of the Recruit School and, for all sailors, their first contact with life in the Navy.

This is the front of the building …..
and here is the back of the building with the inspiring words HONOUR, HONESTY, INTEGRITY and LOYALTY.

HMAS Cerberus also has two gorgeous old chapels.  
Our Lady Star of the Sea, Memorial Chapel which was built in 1948 at a cost of 30000 Australian pounds collected soon after WWII from Catholics all over Australia.  Much for the furnishings and religious items were given by individuals and organisations.  Plaques throughout the chapel recognise the donors, many of whom gifted items dedicating them to a son killed in war or to a ship in naval service.  

Among the many benefactors are American actor/singer Bing Crosby who donated the stained glassed windows where the present confessional is located.  Unfortunately we looked for those but could not find them.  If you have a photo of them I would love to see them.  

The current Catholic Chaplain posted to HMAS Cerberus was the chaplain that we dealt with on HMAS ANZAC, the first ship deployed to Operation Slipper that we looked after.

This is St Mark’s  Chapel which was built in 1954 but unfortunately it was locked and I was not able to get the same information for it.  

My host for the occassion was the delightful Chaplain who was, until recently, deployed to Al Minhad Airbase.  I thought he had dressed like this just for me, medals and all, but then I realised that he had had Divisions that afternoon and hence the extra smart turn out.  He and his family were kind enough to host me for dinner that night and it was a very warm and friendly evening with a delicious roast dinner and a lovely family to share it with.  I can only imagine how much they are all enjoying being back together again.

Saturday morning saw me hit the road and head to Kew for breakfast with a recipient who received a quilt from Louise and the Dolphin Quilters from Old Bar in NSW.  

Lunch was had at a cafe in Templestowe.  This photo was shared on the Facebook page as well but this is my sister-in-law Julie and myself standing and then seated in front of us are Kaye, and Sue P with the purple scarf.  As always it is so nice to put a face to the names that are the emails I receive.

In the afternoon I spent some time with the our HMAS Darwin Chaplain’s wife in Mt Martha – it is so exciting to think that the next time we meet up we will be on the wharf to welcome the ship home in less than a month!!!  

I rounded out my evening with a lovely dinner at a restaurant called Simon’s Peking Duck in Box Hill.  My dinner companions were a recipient just three weeks back from Kabul (Su made his Tardis themed quilt) and his wife (purple jacket) and a chaplain from Laverton (in the grey shirt) and his wife (blue jacket). Another dinner guest was kind enough to take the photo.  

What a lovely evening.  As stated the restaurant was called Simon’s Peking Duck and, as you might guess, the specialty of the house is …….duck!   And guess who the only person was to not eat the DUCK!  You guessed it!  Me!  LOL  Noone minded, but I did keep getting in trouble from Simon himself because I was not eating enough and was talking too much.  Happens so often on these kinds of occasions as people have lots of questions.   When I wasn’t looking Simon would make faces behind my back about me talking too much, or he would dish up more food on to my plate. Hilarious!

I don’t have any other photos for you at the moment.  I had not planned anything specific for Sunday but late on Saturday night I answered an email from a new quilter who had some some questions and on an impulse I asked her where she was located. Can you believe it…….Mt Martha.  I have been in Mt Martha on Friday and Saturday already!   It seemed silly not to try and meet up with her if possible and so we managed to arrange to have lunch together in Brighton.  So, welcome to a new quilter, Carol C and her friends who she says are quite keen to get involved. 

Sunday night my husband flew down from Sydney to join me for dinner with his extended family.  He works in Melbourne from Monday to Friday anyway so this was a good chance to catch up.  It also meant that we at least got to start our day together briefly this morning before I dropped him at the train station at 7am so he could head off to work.  Today is our 24th Wedding Anniversary.  

Happy anniversary to my very own hero, without whose support Aussie Heroes just would not be possible.  xxxxx 

By the time you read this I will have entertained myself for the morning in Melbourne and then will have joined the MUC Pilgrim Patchworkers at their regular get togeher in the afternoon.  Straight after that I will head to the airport to catch my aircraft home so you will have to wait for another night to read about that.  

Hope you have all had a good weekend.  I have had a wonderful time but I am ready to get back home and get stuck back into lots of things that are brewing in Aussie Hero-land.

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

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  1. kiwikid

    Great to read Jan- Maree and lovely to meet you!

  2. Sue Niven

    An itinerary like that would have left me exhausted! You Rock!


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