Welcome home HMAS Darwin…..

Written by AHQ

18 August 2014

If you are going to farewell your loved ones for seven long months you want to know that their deployment was worth it.  The family and friends of HMAS Darwin’s crew can, without doubt, be very proud of the achievements of HMAS Darwin.

Over the course of their deployment the ship’s crew seized 12 tonnes of heroin and hashish – including one record haul of heroin valued at almost $290 million, found aboard a smuggling boat off Kenya.

When interviewed the Captain, Commander Terry Morrison said “It’s not every day that you actually get to fight these terrorist organisations.  You see things that happen – 9/11, Bali, Madrid, London, and you think to yourself ‘what can I do about that?’
And we’ve been able to go out and stem some of their funding, and it’s a great achievement.”
Navy fleet commander Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer said in a statement that the ship’s crew had intercepted and destroyed over $2.1 billion of narcotics during this latest deployment.

The business of the deployment over the crew was welcomed home by 1100 very enthusiastic family members and friends.  The Navy band played and anticipation hung in the air. .  
Malcolm Turnbull, was there as was Stephen Conroy.  Both now have my business card. 🙂 Representatives from the RSL were there as well, and I might add, both proudly wearing their Invictus Games pins as the RSL is sponsoring our team.  

There were some short official speeches from Commodore Jonathon Mead, the Commander Surface Forces 

and Malcolm Turnbull, MP.

Formalities over the excitement mounted as we awaited the arrival of HMAS Darwin. 

Once again I endeavoured to get lots of photos to share with you but I made one tactical error.  Last time, when HMAS Melbourne came home, I manned the camera, but this time my husband was with me and I handed the camera to him.  What I did not allow for was that meant I was free to be in the photos.  Not my plan.  Note to self, take the photos myself next time.  

So I apologise for the number of photos of myself included in this post. 😛

One of the first people to come up and say hello was Tina, both a very proud Mum of one of the sailors on board, but also one of our quilters!

I also had a chance to catch up with one of the chaplains who deployed with HMAS Melbourne.  

Another quilter who found me was Jenny (probably best known as half of the dynamic duo Jenny and Gale).  Jenny’s daughter also deployed with HMAS Darwin and the proud mum flew down early that morning and arrived, toting her luggage, just in time for the fun.

This little angel is called Caia and she was waiting patiently for her daddy. How gorgeous is her ourfit???   You might be able to make out that there are dog tags on her T shirt  and they say “My Daddy”  and “My Hero”.   How gorgous. Caia’s two siblings, Chenzi and Chace, were also appropriately dressed but were too shy to be photographed.  How proud do you think their Daddy was???

At last we sighted her.  

No pressure for Commander Terry Morrison conning the ship (bringing the ship alongside) with everyone watching, including the media and the Fleet Commander on board.  Yeah, sure he has done it a time or two before but still……

Most of you will know that one of the officers had meticulously planned a very special proposal for his partner Jade.

He was first off the ship, carrying the biggest bunch of flowers I have seen in a long time, to find Jade and, no doubt, seal the deal with a kiss. It was wonderful to see the crowd part to let him get to Jade as quickly as he could.  By the way, she said yes.

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, spent the night on the ship

Then the Captain, Commander Terry Morrison disembarked…

and was ecstatically met by his gorgeous little girl

and his wife Maridy.

Here again is Commander Morrison with his daughter and also his mother, who also made laundry bags for the crew!  HMAS Darwin’s involvement was a real family affair in more ways than one!

Commander Terry Morrison with his favourite accessory, the gorgeous Hayley.

Heartwarming reunions were everywhere. 

Welcome home Dad!  We missed you!

This is Commander Morrison’s wife, Maridy with Jenny who you have already met.  In the middle we have Bronwyn.  Bronwyn’s gorgous Pug themed quilt and laundry bag were one of two sets she made for the crew as part of Aussie Heroes. 

Katherine, you made a quilt for this fellow and, if I am not mistaken, this is the little angel that he requested it for.  CUUUUTE!!!  Dad missed her first birthday while he was away.

Irene you made this fellow’s quilt.

Maree J this is one of your recipients.  I was extra pleased to meet this fellow as he is the one I had liaised with me to get the quilt organised for AB Cameron Green, our young sailor who had to come home early to have treatment for cancer. 

I was surprised and delighted to be presented with a wonderful gift by this Chief Petty Officer.   If you follow our Facebook page you will have seen the wonderful framed photograph which has been signed by many of our recipients. 

Thank you so much everyone, I love it.

It now hangs outside the door to my sewing room/office so that I can see it every time I head to work for AHQ.  

Thanks to you Chief for organising it for me.  I might add that this Chief’s proud wife, Tracey, has been helping me out throughout the deployment, with non-sewing jobs.  Additionally, Tracey and her two gorgeous children, Alexander, shown here, and Abbey, were among the group that helped to bake ANZAC biscuits with me to send to the crew and also to other troops during Dad’s deployment.  

You met Tina earlier.  Well now meet her son, and Sue N meet your Finish Flag quilt recipient.

Mary P this is your Rabitohs fan. 

Carolyn  meet one of your recipients.  🙂

I am not sure if you got to meet her Jenny but this is one of your recipients, another lovely lady who expressed her appreciation to all our Aussie Hero Friends for what we do.  

Bev meet your cricket and Geelong Cats fan.  

Now this fellow was not a recipient at this stage and I will probably embarrass him a bit here but I hope he forgives me.  Please meet a very special couple.  On the right we have the beautiful Melanie and that photo bomber is the irrepressible Maridy, the Captain’s wife again.  Melanie got in touch with me and said she would like to learn to sew. She told me that her husband was in the navy but I did not realise till later that he was on Darwin.  Melanie asked if I could help her learn to sew and we set up a date for her to come for a leesson.  It wasn’t till I met Melanie that I discovered how amazing she is.  After knowing her now husband for many years, Melanie only came to Australia from Peru a few months before he deployed and the two were married not long before HMAS Darwin deployed.  They did not even have time for a honeymoon. What is amazing is that Melanie could barely speak english but she set herself to work and went to TAFE. I could not believe how far she has come and how well she is doing and she continues to study so that she can do even better.  I am very proud to have met you and call you a friend.  And before I move on HAPPY FIRST WEDDING ANNIVERSARY for yesterday as well guys!  I hope you had a wonderful day.  

He told me that he had not requested a quilt because he could not decide what to ask for ……..seriously!  I selected an appropriate quilt for him and left it to Melanie to give it to him on his return.

I loved this girl.  Calling herself the Modern Day Crazy Cat lady, her quilt was made for her by our own Crazy Cat Lady, Sue N.  She even signed my frame with a cat’s paw! Love it but also, look really closely just below her name badge.  That hair is not a sign of poor grooming.  That is a welcome home gift, brought to her by family, from her favourite feline who was waiting at home to see her.

Kitty, your pretty quilt with the appliqued flowers found a home with this lovely lady.

Another one of Jenny and Gale’s recipients.  For information, the red bar on the rank on his sleeves denote the fact that he is a medical officer. 

Stephanie D this is one of your recipients.  I was very pleased to meet this lovely lady, who made a point of coming and thanking me for what we do.  I knew this one would be a special one.    First her mother requested a quilt, then a friend of hers requested a quilt and, of course, she was able to put in a request for herself as well.   Her mother also came and found me not long after I arrived and quietly gave me a card which I didn’t open till I got home.  Thank you very much for your contribution Sue, it will be put to good use. 

And the very last man I met was this one.  Jillianne, this is the fellow that you made your extra long quilt for and the one we had heard described as a Man Mountain.  He lived up to his reputation in both size as well as heart.  The thank you letter he wrote was particularly lovely and the hug I received matched that warmth. By this time the skies had opened and it was raining but it was well worth stepping out from under the umbrella that Pennie was kind enough to share with me to have this photo taken.  It was great to meet you. 

Pennie had flown over from South Australia to be there and she had plenty of luck meeting her recipients and also managed to track down some of those that her friend, Mary, made quilts for.

Pennie sought this fellow out as he is a friend of her son’s but he also happens to be the recipient of one of my favourite quilts.  He requested a pink quilt with submarines and aircraft on it.   A group of us worked on it at a sewing day in Penrith and then it was sent to Joyce to quilt it. We were really pleased with the end result and I am so pleased to say that he loved it too.

One of Mary’s recipients

This fellow received one of our Block of the Month quilts put together by Pennie

It was absolutely wonderful to be there and to be able to meet so many of the crew.  Thank you so much to Commander Morrison for inviting me and also an especially a big thank you to his valet, who used her last day of leave to volunteer to come and collect my husband and I and bring us in to the wharf for the event.  That was very much appreciated.  

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

Jan-Maree  xx

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  1. kiwikid

    Thank you Jan Maree wonderful to see the photos

  2. Unknown

    Great photos……

  3. Kaylee

    Such a wonderful post Jan-Maree, love all the photos and everyone looked so happy to be home.


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