Welcome Home HMAS Warramunga

Written by ahq_admin

8 July 2018

 Today, joined by Gail, Philomena and Bev F, I headed into Garden Island to welcome home our latest ship, HMAS Warramunga.  

They have had a fabulously successful deployment, one we should all be incredibly proud of.  They intercepted 16 boats, seized 31 tonnes of hashish and 2 tonnes of heroin worth 2 BILLION dollars!!! 

That will make a huge difference to the war on terrorism and drugs.   Well done just does not seem enough.

The four of us from Aussie Heroes were delighted to be there to welcome them home but we did miss Caroline L who was supposed to fly up from Melbourne to join us.. unfortunately she has caught the dreaded lurgy and was way too sick to join us.   Get well soon Caroline!  We missed you!

 Bev F, Gail, Jan-Maree (Me) and Philomena
 I had the pleasure of meeting the new Chief of Navy today.  Vice Admiral Michael Noonan has only been in the job since Friday so it was a pleasure to meet him today and to introduce him to the ladies with me.   He made a point of thanking all of us (you at home as well) for what we do to support the Royal Australian Navy.  
The Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman, made a point of talking to us. She lost her home in the 2013 Bushfires in Winmalee.  She told me today that she has a real soft spot for quilts because after the fire she and her family were allowed to choose a quilt each from some that had been donated and they because very special to the family.  She really related to the value of the quilts we made for the crew.
The Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, also made a point of saying hello.  Thanks to the fact that she follows us on social media she was aware that we have just achieved the milestone of 18000 laundry bags.   When I introduced her to Gail, Philomena and Bev she was already aware that Gail had sailed on HMAS Canberra last week.   Isn’t it lovely to know that as busy as she is (her schedule is amazingly packed) the Minister keeps up with what we are doing. 
Commander (CMDR) Dugald Clelland was the Commanding Officer of HMAS Warramunga for 8 of her nine months but he came back early in order to prepare to move overseas for his next posting.    CMDR Clelland took the time to tell us just how important Aussie Heroes was for morale on the ship and how much we helped them all to cope with their nine month deployment. 
At last HMAS Warramunga came into view and the excitement level on the wharf grew….
Flying a triumphant HMAS Warramunga flag…

The band played a selection of tunes including the National Anthem

And now for some photos of the happy families welcoming home their sailors…. 

This family is a little special. Many years ago now, Dad, Phil, wrote to me and told me that he treasured the laundry bag he received, so much so that when he had to pack treasures to take with him in case their house was caught in an approaching bushfire, the laundry bag was included in the list of treasures.   Eventually we made Phil a quilt and over time we have also made quilts for his son and daughter. It was lovely to see all of them together today when they gathered to welcome young Emily home.   Aussie Heroes really is a family affair for this family. 
Janis K, this young man absolutely loves the Essendon quilt you made him. 
 Louise T, your garden themed quilt was much appreciated by this green thumbed sailor.
A Disney princesses quilt by Rita M and and a superheroes laundry bag by Tamsin went down a treat for this lieutenant but somehow I suspect I know who will be using them now that he is home…..
Coffs Harbour Sewing Team, meet your very enthusiastic Gun Captain recipient!! Your efforts were much appreciated. 

We finally caught up with the Chaplain to hand over three bags of quilts – some for sailors who joined the ship late, some that were just too late to post off.     These will be handed out on Monday. 
Heather B, meet your very grateful recipient. 
This young lady loves her Broncos Quilt by Bev U and her bag by Jean B.  She and her family where delighted to pose for a photo with her prized laundry bag.  She made sure to tell me that the bag contained clean laundry, not dirty!  Love it!
 Cheryle Toole, meet one of your very happy recipients. 
Su J, do you remember having fun making the Chuck Norris quilt?  It was very well received and his family were very grateful too…
 Ellen, meet one of your recipients… remember the quilt with the family names on it?
This fellow received the quilt and bag that you made Michelle DB.
Pugs for the bag by Cathie Hpr and pugs for the quilt by Lisa R out a smile on this face..  Well done ladies. 

As usual there were handshakes, hugs and big smiles as we wandered around talking to recipients and their families.   

Before we sign off, Philomena as written her thoughts on her first experience welcoming home one of our warships…

“A beautiful sunny day in Sydney, I was delighted to be invited to join Jan-Maree, Gail & Bev F to be on the Harbour side when HMAS Warramunga returned from deployment. It was busy and crowded with families, Politicians and Senior Naval Officers. It was lovely to be greeted warmly by family of quilt recipients, who expressed their gratitude for our efforts. This is the first time I have been so close to a warship, it’s awesome! It was amazing to watch as the ship docked smoothly and very punctually, and I am amazed that the sailors who lined the decks were so controlled when the families on shore were waving so excitedly! I got to meet & chat with a few of the recipients and a few who didn’t get quilts. I had a great day!”

Welcome home HMAS Warramunga.  You did yourselves and your country proud and we are so happy to have been able to support you whilst you worked so hard on our behalf.   Hopefully you will get to enjoy some time off now. 

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

Jan-Maree xx 

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