Welcome Home HMAS Newcastle!!!

Written by AHQ

28 September 2015

It may have drizzled and rained on us all but that could not dampen our enthusiasm for being there yesterday to welcome home the crew of the very successful HMAS Newcastle.  Lynn (on the left) and her sister-in-law, Wendy F, joined me.  It was a lovely surprise to see Commander Terry Morrison was filling in for the Commanding Officer of HMAS Kuttabul this time.  Terry was the captain on HMAS Darwin when they deployed and received a quilt that I made. He has remained a good friend of myself and also of Aussie Heroes. 

The chaplain had suggested that we made a banner to hold up and Lynn took on the task and what a great job she did.

It is always a privilege and an absolute pleasure to join the families and friends on the wharf to welcome home the ships when they come.  A number of family members, realising who I was, made the effort to come up and thank me for what we do.  There is so much gratitude out there for what we do.  But I am always telling you that and trying to describe what it is like to welcome the crew home and meet those who have received our goodies. This time you can hear from Lynn and Wendy.

Dear Jan-Maree

Thank you.  Thank you asking my SIL, Wendy, and I to accompany you to yesterday morning’s event.  The Welcome Home for HMAS Newcastle was something that I have been looking forward to for some time.  Not having any military connections, and not meeting more than a couple of recipients of my quilt tops, I was looking forward to the experience.

Once the crew started landing Wendy and I worked as a team.  I was ‘accosting’ the crew members as they walked past us and asking if they had received a quilt or LB. If they said yes (which most had) could Wendy take a photo of them for the blog and for the quilters to be able to see their recipient.  Without fail, the faces broke into smiles and the thank you’s were so heartfelt and genuine.  Some hugged us, some shook hands and they all beamed. They ALL said how grateful they were and just what it meant to everyone on board.  They all said how much the gifts meant to them and how opening the AHQ parcels and viewing the contents moved many to tears.  I cannot tell you how that made me feel.  
Yes, it drizzled with rain. Yes, it was quite chilly and yet you know what? 
I did not care one jot. 
 Now I am waiting for the next Welcome Home.  Count me in as today was just such a wonderful experience.
Lynn x x

Yesterday I was lucky enough to meet numerous sailors and waiting families from HMAS Newcastle. The weather certainly didn’t reflect the anticipation of the ship and her crew’s return.

Even before the ship arrived I really began to understand, for the first time, the impact of what we do, not just on the recipients, but their families as well. Parents and partners, recognising our AHQ badges, thanked us for supporting their loved ones. It meant a lot to them.
Once the ship had docked, quite an emotional event in itself, and the stampede down the gangway to waiting family and friends eased, we had the opportunity to speak to quite a few crew, most of who had received either or both a quit or laundry bag. We were usually greeted with “I sure did!” It was overwhelming to have the recipients very happily stand in the rain and tell me how much their quilts/LBs meant to them, the impact they have in their daily lives and to know someone from home took the time and trouble to make something for them. There were many smiles and thanks.
Jan-Maree has often said on the blog how much of an impact we have.
Yesterday made that a reality!

Wendy F

So on with the photos….

 Federal Member for Gilmore, the very lovely and friendly Ann Sudmalis MP and with her Commodore Peter Leavy.   Ann was particularly interested to hear all about Aussie Heroes.

Mrs Andrea MacNamara,wife of the Captain, and one of  their sons, with Mrs and Commodore Phil Spedding, one of Caroline’s recipients. Caroline you will be pleased to know that your quilt lives on the spare bed at home.

Here she comes, right on time…

This lovely fellow received a quilt when he was on HMAS Darwin and he stepped out of the crowd when he saw me going past to say hello and thank you for the quilt and bag he received.   You see people, time passes but more and more I am finding that the appreciation of our quilts and laundry bags does not.

The Ship’s Warrant Officer (one of your recipients, Anna and Kitty) was more than happy to stop for a photo

As was the captain, Commander Dominnic MacNamara and his family.

Now for the rest of the photos I will name the quilter and the person who made the laundry bag in that order. Hope that works for you.  The names ABOVE the photo will be the relevant ones.

Michelle Mck and Joan

Skye C and Jean B

Marie B and Helen P

Cheri and Jill S

Kay C and Joan

Jenny F

Marilyn S and Cheryl DP

Kaitlin P and Jackie J (on the LHS) and Jill S and Joan

Sorry about the rain drop on the lens…. Lola and Cathie S

Yvette and Joan.
(this for gorgeous fellow’s mum is one of our quilters and she was there today. 
So sorry to have missed meeting her)

Lynette S and Joan

This fellow’s quilt was made by Cathie L and you might remember me telling how Cathie L and her recipient’s mother, also Cathie, met up.  Apparently there are plans to meet up again. How lovely!

Lynn, quilted by Cath M

Jackie J and Jill S

Now I am a bit biased but this fellow received a quilt that was a top made by the North of the Yarra Quilt Group, that I embellished using details on a coin that he had sent me as a thank you for Aussie Heroes, even before he knew I had anything to do with his quilt.   Today he found me and gave me another coin as a thank you for his quilt. What a gem!

Happiness Fairies and Joan

Now folks, this is the lovely lady who was responsible for spending much of her own time taking the many photos of people with quilts and laundry bags that we were sent. A massive job and I am indebted to her for her wonderful efforts.  She received a quilt from Ruth F and a laundry bag from Julie H (who is actually deployed herself at the moment)

Ahhhh, I don’t usually name the troops but no prizes for guessing who this is with one look at the lovely laundry bag she received from Pam Y. She also received a quilt from Sue N.  I met her family too – they were very grateful.

Aww now this is one of our favourites.  In the past Lynn, with the quilting help of Belinda, had made a lovely turtle themed quilt for a sweet girl called Sheree.  The problem was that Sheree’s request came too late for her to receive her quilt whilst deployed but she and her husband were more than happy to come to my home to pick it up.   Lynn was able to be there too which was lovely.  At that time Sheree came with her husband.  When I received the list of requests from HMAS Newcastle I immediately recognised Sheree’s husband’s name….. let’s just say his name is not JOHN SMITH!  LOL  It is a little more distinctive.  Well of course Lynn wanted to make his quilt as well and a fabulous quilt was made with some help from Michele with some great Disney embroideries and then it was quilted by Debbie.  It was so lovely to catch up with them together.

And it was especially lovely to meet their little girl!!!  Truly an Aussie Hero family!

Happiness Fairies and Glenys T

Julie Ann (LB only)

Leesa O’Connell and Robyn B

Queanbeyan CWA and Cath S

Sue P and Joan 

Jillianne and Maree J 

Jackie J and Joan 

Glenda Joy and Joan

Debbie O and Jean B

Tina C and Maree J 

One the left Julie Ann and on the right
Jo-Anne H and Lisa C

Kathy L and Julie H (ACT)

Stephanie D (Q and LB)

Kay C and Rosemary H

Dolphin Quilters and Pennie

Glenys T and Joan


Rowena and Julie Ann

Kaylee and Janette

Wendy H

Marilyn S

Val G and Jill S

We didn’t get the name for this fellow so if you recognise your quilt please let me know.

Val G and Lisa C

Rebecca and Maree J

Happiness Fairies and Maree J 

Sharon Mc and Jackie Jubb

Debbie T and Julie H (ACT)

No names for this fellow either  – does anyone recognise the laundry bag they made?

Jill M and Maree J 

Michelle H and Jill S

Laurene and Lisa C

Queanbeyan CWA and Joan

Queanbeyand CWA and Pennie

and right at the end of the day… just as we were getting back to our cars, this lovely lady appeared having had her car park next to ours. Lisa was largely responsible, with a team of others, for keeping the HMAS Newcastle Facebook page undated constantly. What a bonus for the families.  When there are 1100 family members and friends jostling to see their beloved crew member when the crew disembarks it is easy not to catch up with people.  We were delighted to catch up with Lisa briefly and Wendy especially so as she had just said to me that she had made laundry bags for two girls on HMAS Newcastle and had not seen either…… until Lisa walked up!  I think that rounded Wendy’s day off just nicely!

I nearly missed finding the chaplain and actually forgot to get a photo of him.  Thankfully Wendy actually managed to snap a photo of him with his beloved grand-daughter. I reckon this little girl does not know just how much her grandpa wanted to see her.  🙂

And finally, because I know that many of you do not see Facebook…. this is a photo that I shared yesterday.  I met this lovely fellow and he asked if I had seen the pic.  It was sent to me straight away by text.  I was assured that it has been cleared so I hope you enjoy it. Can’t have you missing out just because you can’t look on Facebook.

His quilt was made by Rowena and his laundry bag also made by Julie who is currently deployed herself.  

OK so that is quite a nice note to end on I am sure.

Till next time……………keep spreading the word and happy stitching!
Jan-Maree  xx

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  1. Sue Niven

    Wow! Simply wonderful! Thanks for telling of the day and the bumper crop of lovely photos.

  2. Soph Marie

    Wonderful, wonderful photos. Job well done everyone!

  3. nonnacookbooker

    Awesome Jan-Maree. THANKYOU for sharing such a memorable day 😄


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