Monday, 30 March 2015

Defence Service Medals

With the Centenary of ANZAC Day coming up it seems an appropriate time to write some posts on some of the medals that you will see our troops wearing as they march and commemorate such an important day.

Now I am no expert on the subject so I am drawing my information from the Defence Website which can be found here.  If anyone else should have time to write a post or two about the medals I would really appreciate it. I would particularly like to cover the medals worn by our Vietnam Veterans, and veterans from Iraq, The Solomon Islands, East Timor and any other earlier deployments and operations.

I am not sure how many medals there are in total but decided the best place to start was with the medal that I have and which I will be wearing with pride this ANZAC Day.  

The Defence Force Service Medal. 

Mine came in the mail some months after I had left the Navy to become a full time mum.  The smaller version, or "miniature" is worn at formal occasions like Dining In Nights etc.

 To qualify for a Defence Force Service Medal a member is required to complete 15 years of efficient remunerated service prior to 20 April 1999 and must have been serving on or after 14 February 1975.

A minimum or 12 years in the Regular Forces and up to 3 years in the Reserves can be counted towards the medal.

Clasps are awarded for each further period of five years efficient regular service.  Reserve service and Continuous Full Time service in the Reserve does not qualify towards clasps for this medal.

From 20 April 1999 the Defence Force Service Medal was replaced by the Defence Long Service Medal.  Qualifying service for clasps can be accrued after 19 April 1999.

The medal is a cupro-nickel circular chamfered medal.  The front shows the Joint Service Emblem.

The reverse is inscribed with "FOR EFFICIENT SERVICE IN THE PERMANENT FORCES"  around the circumference.  In the centre my name and service number has been engraved.

The ribbon has three equal stripes of gold and azure-blue edged with azure blue.  The colours were the national colours of Australia at the time of introduction.

The clasp is a cupro-nickel with the Royal Cypher flanked by sprigs of wattle in the centre.  When the ribbon is worn alone a clasp is indicated by the addition of a cupro-nickel round rosette or a silver miniature Federation Star.

The first four clasps to the medal are indicated by rosettes. These are replaced by a single silver Federation Star for the fifth clasp. Additional Federation Star emblems are added for subsequent clasps.

The other medal that I am eligible for, which I have applied for but which won't arrive for some time due to demand given that this is the Centenary Year is the Australian Defence Medal.

The Australian Defence Medal

This medal was introduced after I left the services, hence the need to apply for it. 

The Australian Defence Medal recognises Australian Defence Force personnel who have efficiently completed either and initial enlistment period or four years of service whichever is lesser, and all of the relevant service was after 3 September 1945.

This includes former Defence Force members who did not complete the qualifying period because they died in service, were medically discharged (based in individual circumstances) or left the service due to a Defence workplace policy of the time.  (For example, in the past a woman was required to resign on marriage.)

The medal is cupro-nickel.  The front has a stylised version of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms as used on the Australian Service Medal 1939-1945.  This is surrounded by the inscription "THE AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE MEDAL"  above a sprig of wattle.  

The reverse has the inscription "FOR SERVICE" below the Crown of St Edward all surrounded by a wattle wreath. The use of the wreath acknowledges the sacrifice of those who have died in service or been discharged due to injury resulting from service, a secondary  qualification for the medal.  

The ribbon is red with black edges, the colour of the Flanders Poppy that represent the Anzac spirit of the Australian Armed Forces.  The white strips divide the ribbon into three to denote the three Services and also represent the service contributing to the peace of Australia.

I hope to write more posts explaining the meaning and origin of the medals before ANZAC Day. I think it is really important that people can recognise the most common medals and some of the less common, but very important medals as well.

Please note, the medals, if earned by the wearer are worn on the left hand side of the chest - over the heart. If a family member is wearing their loved ones medals then they are worn on the right hand side.    I only wore my medal for the first time at the end of January this year. I had not really had the opportunity beforehand as I left the services shortly after I achieved 15 years, to raise my sons.  I was surprised to read recently that some of my female counterparts are often asked, when wearing their own medals over their heart, whose medals they are etc.  Please be aware that many many women over the years have earned the right to wear their medals with pride.

Also can I encourage you once again, if you see someone in uniform, please just quietly thank them for their service.  Don't wait till ANZAC Day to do it. Do it any time you see them. You have no idea how much it will mean to them.  

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

Jan-Maree xx

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Don't forget you can pre-order your patches and pins.....

Hey all, just a reminder that we are taking advanced orders if you want to buy some of our awesome patches and pins.  Details are as follows.....

Pre-Ordering Patches and Pins

Would you like a patch or pin?

The patches are the standard military size - 7.5cm x 5.5cm - with no velcro on the back.

The pins are about 3.5cm across.

No doubt you will have seen the pictures of these super patches and pins. They will be for sale at the Quilt Convention in Melbourne in April. For those of us not going to Melbourne they will be available by mail order to/from me. Patches and pins can to be pre-ordered, so if you would like to place an order, no money yet, please email me at with numbers required.

Cost $5.00 each including postage.

Cheers Joan 

Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Australian Quilt Convention

Hopefully by now you all know that Aussie Heroes will be quest exhibitors at The Australian Quilt Convention,  16-19 April, thanks to the kindness and generosity of the organisers.  We will have our own booth show-casing Aussie Heroes, what we do and who we do it for.  You can come along and sign a block with a message for the troops, You can buy our pins and patches and you can meet some of the quilters, including yours truly. In addition Bernina has given us a wonderful sewing machine to raffle (more details on this later) and they will be devoting their workshops to teaching people how to make laundry bags. 

This is big people. 

But there is so much more to The Australian Quilt Convention as well.  This is a very special year, largely given over to commemorating the ANZAC Centenary.

Please take a moment to check out what else will be happening.

It is a very generous gesture on the part of the organisers to have us along. 
Please consider supporting them and us and come along.

Australian event pieces together the world’s best quilts  

Hundreds of hours, thousands of stitches and a considerable dollop of dedication has helped quilters to fabricate more than 350 exquisite quilts including many celebrating the Gallipoli landings Centenary which will be on show at the biggest, most celebrated quilting event in the southern hemisphere, the 11th annual Australasian Quilt Convention (AQC). 
Returning to Melbourne’s historic World-Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building from April 16th to 19th, this year’s AQC will offer a distinctly Australian spin on select quilts, with some Australian-themed exhibitions set to impress alongside a plethora of remarkable and unique modern, international, art and competition quilts. Bringing the world of quilting to Australia, an inspiring spread of international and home spun tutors will also lead seminars and workshops for every skill level, while an exceptional array of approximately 100 specialty retailers from around the world will feature the latest quilting products and gadgets at the shopping expo.

Event organiser, Judy Newman explains that this year’s AQC is particularly special given that many of the quilts are a moving tribute to the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli, “There will be many incredibly vibrant and intricate quilts that embody remembrance, mateship and the true Australia in celebration of the landings at Gallipoli Centenary. Every quilt on display has been hand-picked. These quilts are the cream of the crop.”

This year’s AQC Quilt Show 2015 will feature a diverse collection of specially selected quilts showcasing fascinating techniques, vivid splashes of colour and innovative design from the full spectrum of amateur and professional quilters. Among the highly anticipated exhibits will be the two quilt challenges, ‘True Blue’ and the ‘Lest We Forget Quilt Challenge – 100 years, 100 quilts’. The seventh annual AQC challenge featuring 30 incredible interpretations of the theme ‘True Blue’ has sparked quilts ranging from iconic Australian themes, ‘Blue Heelers’ to shades of blue, images of depression, and political statements relating to the #I’ll Ride with You campaign.
A special 2015 exhibition will be 100 small challenge quilts commemorating one of Australia’s most defining times at Gallipoli with the ‘Lest We Forget Quilt Challenge - 100 Years, 100 Quilts’.

Continuing with the Aussie theme, visitors can meet the generous members of ‘Aussie Hero Quilts’ who make quilts and laundry bags to send to serving Australian servicemen and women. Another philanthropic group, ‘Quilts of Valour Australia’ will be showing visitors how they can help send quilts to wounded Australian Defence Force personnel, ex-ADF personnel suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and families of deceased soldiers.

Guest artist and veteran of the Royal Australian Air Force, Lucy Carroll has drawn on her passion for quilting and personal experience in the armed forces to create an impressive 12m long ‘The Gallipoli Quilt’. Comprising 10 panels, the quilt is a tribute to Australian history illustrating the story of an Australian soldier from his dockside departure to his arrival at Gallipoli Cove and is literally set to be one of the biggest attractions!

At just 15 years old, Ineka Voigt has quilted her way to Turkey, having been selected to represent Australia at the 2015 100 year Gallipoli landings Centenary ceremony. Her incredible winning quilt, ‘Spirit of Anzac’ which features an appliquéd Red Cross and painted poppy on a piece of 1908 tracing linen from her grandmother, will be on display at the AQC.

The best of Australia’s home grown talent will also be on show, with the ‘Best of Australia’ National Quilt Award to be selected from the winning ‘Best of Show’ quilts from every state and announced at the AQC Gala Dinner, alongside a collection of the annual AQC favourite, ‘Best of the Best’ which will give visitors a chance to see the best quilts from all annual state quilt guild shows.

A stand out international exhibit by French designer, Ségolaine Schweitzer will reveal her exceptional wool artistry where she incorporates a blend of raw and recycled materials including salvaged wool and threads with the delicacy of embroidery to create decorative panels inspired by nature and the seasons, unique garments, accessories and textile artwork. 

Quilting beginners and experts alike will have an opportunity to take their skills to the next level under the tutelage of some of the world’s best quilting teachers, from seminar-style one, two and four day pre-booked workshop packages to one hour walk-in make and take classes, mini-workshops and lectures on offer during the four days. There will be a diverse range of hands-on activities to suit every schedule with more international and local tutors than ever before hailing from Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, South Africa and the USA who will showcase the latest trends, styles and techniques spanning from century old traditional hand techniques to contemporary art methods.

Workshops have proved very popular already, with quilters from all over the country booked to attend. A much anticipated tutor is renowned ‘fabric painter’ from the USA, Lenore Crawford who creates French landscapes with dramatic colour, texture and warmth and will teach people of all skill levels how to design a fused project from an original photo. The 2014 Rajah Award winner, Michele Hill from South Australia will also be on hand to showcase her specialty, machine appliquéd quilts with hand embellishment; while artist in residence at Ayers Rock Resort, Caroline Sharkey from NSW will not only showcase her five quilt ‘As The Forest Falls’ collection inspired by her visit to Oregon, but will also demonstrate her cutting edge confetti technique she uses to create colours and texture in her trademark Australian scenes. Another from NSW, Jan Clark uses modern art techniques reflecting her studies in natural history illustration and scientific drawing which influence her design and printing of exquisite original fabric.

Amongst Victorian locals set to share their talents is award winning guest artist, Esther Aliu from Doncaster who will uncover secrets to create her modern version of the advanced quilt ‘My Love Entwined 1790 Marriage Coverlet’. This quilt is an evocative homage to its unnamed 1790 Georgian original which itself raises many questions about the maker and her extraordinary design skills during a time when quilting was limited to a small class in society. Belgrave South graphic designer and artist, Ro Bruhn will guide visitors to create a personalised textile art journal using fabric and everyday ephemera.  

There are also social events to attend including an entertaining Gala Dinner where several national awards are presented, which can all be booked online alongside the various class packages.  

Australasian Quilt Convention

April 16-19, 2015
Thursday – Sunday
Seniors / Pensioners
Children (5 to 16 years)
Children under 5
Family (2 adults + 2 children)
Expo & Quilt Show Hours:
Open daily: 10am – 4:30pm


Friday, 27 March 2015

Weekly Dispatches 27 March

Another great week.  If you have not caught up with the latest adventures of our Centenary Quilt you need to check out last night's post. If only this quilt could talk!

396 quilts and 525 laundry bags for 2015. 

3981 quilts and  5980 laundry bags in total.


Berlinda (front)


Cher T 

Queanbeyan CWA


Top created by Lynn and quilted by Debbie

Helen O'S

Jackie J 

Jenny and Gale 



Julie Ann

Kerri H 


Leanne W

Louise and the Dolphin Quilters

Lyn K 

Maree J



Pam M 

The fabulous ladies from the Penrith Sewing Day!  Special mention - Kiwi Karen could not be there so she prepared all the kits for the ladies to sew!


Helen at Penrith

Rhonda W

Robyn B

Robyn R and Robyn S

Robyn W created the quilt top, Geoff quilted it and Bev bound it.

Ruth B

Ruth S 

Stephanie D (close ups of the bottom...

and the top)

Sue N 

Note, our first quilt with one of the Petero Civoniceva signature blocks.

Sue P 

Tracey T 

Wendy F

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