Welcome Home HMAS Melbourne, job well done!!!

Written by AHQ

29 February 2016

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be on the wharf when HMAS Melbourne sailed in from her deployment on Operation Manitou to the Middle East.

It was a beautiful sunny day, cooled just enough by a great sea breeze and the wharf was jammed with family and friends all there to welcome home members of the crew. 

I have lots of photos for you but first here are a few statistics…..

Ship’s Company: 229

Total days deployed: 204

Total miles steamed: 88,500km (more than twice around the world)

Food: 109,163.25 kg

Mail: 5432 kg from 403 mail bags

Soft drink: 11,628 cans

Red Frogs: 8200

Toilet Rolls: 12,687

Hearts broken: Countless

2 x Soccer and 1 x Cricket match against other countries. 

Ship’s Company has lost in excess of 250kg

And perhaps the most important statistics given the purpose of their deployment…..

a total of 54 boarding’s seizing 977kg of Heroin 

with a street value  of $390,000,000 AUD

And they are the winners of the 2015 Gloucester Cup! 

Congratulations HMAS Melbourne


You may remember CMDR Terry Morrison, the Captain of HMAS Darwin last time they deployed, and now I can introduce you to CAPT Paul O’Grady who was the captain of HMAS Newcastle when HMAS Newcastle deployed in 2013.  I know CMDR Morrison very well but I only met CAPT O’Grady yesterday.  Over two years later and he still remembers the positive impact the arrival of our quilts and laundry bags had on his crew during their deployment.  

Not only did the ships’ captains reminisce with me about their quilts and how much they enjoyed receiving them but as I mingled with the crowd throughout the morning various people commented on the fact that they had also received quilts on past deployments and how much they love them even now.

The formalities began with a few words by Commodore Lee Goddard

followed by Senator Marise Payne, the Minister for Defence.

Also present were Senator Jenny McAllister, Stuart Ayres MP and the Chief of Navy , Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, AO CSC, RAN.   I was introduced to Senator McAllister and had a brief chat with her.   I am pleasd to say that she grasped the meaning of what we do very clearly right from the start and seemed genuinely interested. 

Commodore Goddard and the Chief of Navy always express their gratitude for what we do when they see me. 

The Navy Band played as HMAS Melbourne came alongside.

When you are standing in a crown of over a thousand excited family and friends you want to stand out so a shiny gold star for an award winning ship is always a good start!

It is not a great photo but alongside the ship’s crest you can see the painted gold star which signifies the fact that HMAS Melbourne are the current winners of the Gloucester Cup.

This is the Commanding officer of HMAS Melbourne.  He had not received a laundry bag whilst at sea so I surprised him with one on his return with the Gloucester Cup star on it.

The photos of the recipients will be listed UNDER the names of those who sewed for them…. quilter’s name first.

Jo H (NSW) – Sue M

Julie Ann and Pennie (LB)

Barbara C 

I missed this lovely girl’s name unfortunately.  

Carol L and Jan-Maree (for LB)

This fellow received a North of the Yarra Quilt top which was finished by Anna and Kitty and Anna made his laundry bag.

This fellow’s quilt featured blocks signed music legends such as Jimmy Barnes and Diesel and was made by Enid and others from the Rosewood Patchwork Group. 

Leah D and Jean B 

Again a missed name….

Stephanie D made both quilt and laundry bag

Lenore M, this one is yours. 

This fellow (on the right) received a quilt that was a top made by the North of the Yarra Quilt Group, which was embellished and completed by Anna and Kitty who made his laundry bag also. What some of you might also like to know is that this gorgeous fellow is the lovely guy who sent postcards to several of you out of the blue to thank you for being part of Aussie Heroes. 

Bozena from the Black Head Beach Quilters

On the left….Tanya S and Cath W  and on the right….Caroline M and Pennie

and Pennie you might remember this gorgeous young lady.  She remembers you, and the fact that you came all the way from South Australia to be there when the ship came in.  This time it was her turn to welcome back her friends.


Cynthia F 

Now sadly this fellow was not wearing his name tag by the time I caught up with him but I was chatting to these two ladies before the ship came in and they told me that Joan, who made his laundry bag, lives in the same suburb as the lady in the blue and white and they could not get over the coincidence.

Sue P

Barbara A 

Cheri and Pennie…. think Lion King…

One of our Block of the Month Quilts went to this fellow with a laundry bag by Colleen S 

Debbie you made her quilt and Timmy with Lisa Emerson made his laundry bag.

Lynn and Debbie and LB by Marilyn S

Nancy with laundry bag by Colleen S 

As well as talking to the crew members I met quite a few of their families. Many of them, especially Mums, wives and partners, came up to me to tell me how much they appreciate what we do. Like I said lots of happy wives, mothers and partners…..

And finally, there seems there is always one.   

This is what your family members will look like if you do not request a quilt and they find out about it when it is too late. 

This lovely mother has my business card for next time and she will not leave it up to her son a second time.  Let’s just say….. she was not happy Jan!!!

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


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