Thursday, 21 August 2014

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Poppy Wall

A few weeks ago I put out a call for people to help with the writing of some posts for the blog.
 At that point Marlene put her hand up and offered to write a couple for us.  This is the first of her posts and I found it very moving to read. I hope you enjoy it. 

..........<<<>>>...........



The Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier in the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

Plans for a tomb for an Australian unknown soldier were first put forward in the 1920’s, but it was not until 1993, that someone was at last brought home.  With great reverence, the remains of an unknown Australian soldier were removed from a cemetery in France and transported to Australia.  After lying in state in King’s Hall in Old Parliament House, he was interred in the Hall of Memory on the 11th November, 1993.

The Unknown Soldier was buried in a Tasmanian blackwood coffin, with a slouch hat and a sprig of wattle.   Soil from the Pozieres battlefield was scattered on his tomb.  He represents all Australians who have been killed in the war.

The Hon. P.J. Keating MP, Prime Minister of Australia delivered the eulogy and below is a transcript for you.

We do not know this Australian's name and we never will. We do not know his rank or his battalion. We do not know where he was born, nor precisely how and when he died. We do not know where in Australia he had made his home or when he left it for the battlefields of Europe. We do not know his age or his circumstances – whether he was from the city or the bush; what occupation he left to become a soldier; what religion, if he had a religion; if he was married or single. We do not know who loved him or whom he loved. If he had children we do not know who they are. His family is lost to us as he was lost to them. We will never know who this Australian was.

Yet he has always been among those whom we have honoured. We know that he was one of the 45,000 Australians who died on the Western Front. One of the 416,000 Australians who volunteered for service in the First World War. One of the 324,000 Australians who served overseas in that war and one of the 60,000 Australians who died on foreign soil. One of the 100,000 Australians who have died in wars this century.
He is all of them. And he is one of us.
This Australia and the Australia he knew are like foreign countries. The tide of events since he died has been so dramatic, so vast and all-consuming, a world has been created beyond the reach of his imagination.
He may have been one of those who believed that the Great War would be an adventure too grand to miss. He may have felt that he would never live down the shame of not going. But the chances are he went for no other reason than that he believed it was his duty - the duty he owed his country and his King.
Because the Great War was a mad, brutal, awful struggle, distinguished more often than not by military and political incompetence; because the waste of human life was so terrible that some said victory was scarcely discernible from defeat; and because the war which was supposed to end all wars in fact sowed the seeds of a second, even more terrible, war -  we might think this Unknown Soldier died in vain.
But, in honouring our war dead, as we always have and as we do today, we declare that this is not true.
For out of the war came a lesson which transcended the horror and tragedy and the inexcusable folly.
It was a lesson about ordinary people – and the lesson was that they were not ordinary.
On all sides they were the heroes of that war; not the generals and the politicians but the soldiers and sailors and nurses – those who taught us to endure hardship, to show courage, to be bold as well as resilient, to believe in ourselves, to stick together.
The Unknown Australian Soldier we inter today was one of those who by his deeds proved that real nobility and grandeur belong not to empires and nations but to the people on whom they, in the last resort, always depend.
That is surely at the heart of the ANZAC story, the Australian legend which emerged from the war. It is a legend not of sweeping military victories so much as triumphs against the odds, of courage and ingenuity in adversity. It is a legend of free and independent spirits whose discipline derived less from military formalities and customs than from the bonds of mateship and the demands of necessity.
It is a democratic tradition, the tradition in which Australians have gone to war ever since.
This Unknown Australian is not interred here to glorify war over peace; or to assert a soldier's character above a civilian's; or one race or one nation or one religion above another; or men above women; or the war in which he fought and died above any other war; or of one generation above any that has or will come later.
The Unknown Soldier honours the memory of all those men and women who laid down their lives for Australia.
His tomb is a reminder of what we have lost in war and what we have gained.
We have lost more than 100,000 lives, and with them all their love of this country and all their hope and energy.
We have gained a legend: a story of bravery and sacrifice and, with it, a deeper faith in ourselves and our democracy, and a deeper understanding of what it means to be Australian.
It is not too much to hope, therefore, that this Unknown Australian Soldier might continue to serve his country - he might enshrine a nation's love of peace and remind us that in the sacrifice of the men and women whose names are recorded here there is faith enough for all of us.
The Hon. P.J. Keating MP

Prime Minister of Australia



A staff member at the memorial, told us that on that day, whilst people were waiting for the Service to begin, someone, just because they could, stuck a poppy in the wall of Remembrance.   Others followed and hence began the tradition of placing poppies in the Wall.


This iconic scene has been immortalised by wonderful Australian Textile Artist Lucy Carroll in a wonderful quilt she called "Soldier On" after the wonderful organisation of the same name.  


You really need to click on this link to appreciate the full beauty of this quilt.  Lucy is not only an exceptional artist, but is also an ex-serving member herself and her husband is currently serving in the Navy.   If you have not seen Lucy's work you really need to check out her blog.   She has some amazing projects on the go.

Thanks very much Marlene. A great post!  If anyone else has any ideas for a post they might like to write please let me know.  You can PM me or send me an email.  friendsofAHQ@gmail.com.  This is another way you can contribute to Aussie Heroes. 

Just before I go - we have another crop of quilts and laundry bags heading off this week.   If you have sent 
something off and I have not listed your name below please let me know. 
Anna
Debbie
Grace
Jacqui S
Joan
Kim
Lynn
Liz B
Maddy
Pam Y 
Robyn
Sally
Su


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

Jan-Maree  xx


Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Happy Mail 20th August

Hi Everyone hope you've all had a great week, I've been busy working and sewing.

First up today we have some awesome August BOMS from Sue G (aka My lovely Mum).





Next some great ones from Alicia N


Four beautiful ones from Carol Le M..


Here are the last lot this week from Tania D
.

Hope everyone finds some extra time to sew this weekend. I hope to find some... laundry bag and quilt to finish off.
Also only a couple of weeks till a new BOM will be released.  Better put my thinking cap on.

Happy Stitching

Caroline

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Grati-Tuesday


Starting off tonight's post we have a letter from our Peace Keepers in South Sudan.  


Dear Jan-Maree,

Thank you so much for the packages I have just received. I not only received your fantastic package of biscuits, but I also received my quilt and laundry bag from Sue F. I feel very lucky to have received both. I will save the ANZAC biscuits for a special occasion and share them with my international colleagues – they can also enjoy a bit of a taste of Australia. If you get the chance please also thank your helpers.

I have attached a photo of the current Aussie contingent on the roof of their accommodation in Juba. I’m pretty sure that most of them have benefited from your support as well, so I thought that you might like to see their smiling faces.

On behalf of the Australian Contingent in South Sudan, thank you for your ongoing service to your country through the support that you are providing us all.

Regards,




And another from South Sudan...this time a letter to his quilter


Dear Sue F,


Thank you so much for the quilt and laundry bag - they just arrived in the mail and they are spectacular. They are a wonderful little piece of Australian in the middle of Africa! I have no idea how you find the time with all of your commitments, but thank you so much for your support. I know that most of the Aussies over here have been supported by Aussie Hero Quilts, so I have attached a photo of us all up on the roof of "Australia House" in Juba. On behalf of them all, thank you for your support to the deployed service personnel - we are all very grateful.

Regards,
.....

WooHoo the first quilts have arrived in HMAS Toowoomba!!

Hello Hilary,

I thank you so much for my fabulous Quilt, I really love it has a very vibrant colour lay out.
It came just in time as well, I will turn 53 on the 20 Aug, today being the 18 Aug.
I have served in the Navy for 18 yrs, spending 12.5 years on ships. I joined when I was 35.

Once again thanks very much for Hard Work, I think my oldest daughter will try and take it from me when we get home.
 

.....

Dear Joan,
Thank you for the lovely laundry bag. It has brightened my room and made my day.  Thank you once again, it was very much appreciated.
Have a great day.
.....


Lindsay,

        To my surprise I was given two parcels from yesterdays post from you. I cannot find the words to adequately describe how grateful I am and how this has lifted my moral after my first very busy week...........The quilt will first complete a tour of the Headquarters before it moves to my room where it will brighten my personal space. Thank you for your efforts, it is the reason I serve the Australian public.
Enjoy the snow as the minimum temperature over here is in the low thirties and the highs are above the fifties currently. Wishing the Aussie Hero Quilt group all the best as I join with you in the big task of looking out for our men and women in the current area of operations.
.....


Dear Aussie hero Quilts

Thank you for the quilt and laundry bag. Thank you to all the volunteers that make and organises this program  it is always good to have people back  home are thinking of us. The quilt with come in very handy when it gets colder.

Thank you
...... 

Hi Sue,
I'm a 27 year old soldier on her first deployment. I just want to thank you for the Aussie Heroes gift. I got a Tweety Bird print laundry bag, which is great because as a kid Tweety was my favourite Loony Tunes character.  It's great to receive a gift from home.  Thanks again, your generosity is very much appreciated.
Beck
....


Hi Kate, 


I am one of the lucky few who have had the pleasure of receiving one of your  laundry bags. I would like to take this opportunity to show my appreciation as I am very grateful considering this is the only item I forgot to bring with me on my current rotation. I had resorted to using a garbage bag to store my dirty laundry. So yes, I do very sincerely thank you for this gift. I am a believer in passing along this generosity and hope one day I too am in a position to offer something of value to someone in need.


Regards
.....


Hello Sue,
I'd like to thank you for the clothes bag that you made. It is very much appreciated. It looks amazing. It brightens up the room but it also brightens up my day. As you probably know, everything in the army all looks the same, plain and boring. It makes it a lot easier to find the washing machine that I was using as it  is not the same white bag on top of the machine like all the rest.
I have been in the army for 6 years and this is my first deployment and it is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. I've had a lot of training for getting deployed but the hardest thing is being away from family and friends.
I would like to thank you again for the present and I will use this laundry bag for the rest of my career and take it to all of my army courses and bush exercises.

Regards
.....


Dear Irene,
Thank you very much for the beautiful quilt and laundry bag you took so much time
and effort to create.
There is no better feeling than knowing that someone who has no reason to care is not
only thinking of you while you are away, but also actively working to provide you
with a morale raising gift.
Without a doubt your quilt will be my most cherished memory of my deployment. I'd
like you to know that your quilt and letter to me will become part of my military
memorabilia that will be passed on to my daughters, along with the story of the
woman who took the time to make a gift for a soldier she didn't know.
The colours and pictures on the quilt are definitely worth the wait, you have done a
superb job creating a quilt for the aspiring nutrition nut.
Stay safe and healthy and keep up the great work you are doing with those quilts.
They mean more than you know.

Cheers,
.....

And saving the best for last this is my favourite letter of the night!
..... 


Good Evening Granny Smith,
I am just writing to inform you that I have received the quilt you made for me. I cannot express the joy it brought to the room when it arrived, it is everything and more than what I expected, I absolutely love it! It sits on my bed at this current time as I write this letter. I love it!!! 

It was Sunday afternoon I received it, along with my whole section I was sitting at my desk letting all my guys know what was going on for the next day. The postey walked in and handed me the package!!   I immediately knew it was from you and did not hesitate to let the whole office know that I had received it. As we truckies work closely to the RAEME (mechanics) I was sure to let them know, as the friendly rivalry is strong. We are always bragging which of us is the better corps; of course we truckies are definately the superior corps. =] So as I was saying I was sure to have all their attention when I opened the package. I immediately pulled it out and showed it off. I was told the look on my face was priceless. The RAEME guys were still trying to prove how they thought they where in the better corps. I still beg to
differ.  

So I am writing this letter late at night whilst sitting on the quilt, as the free time at work is very minimal coming up the end of my deployment. Our replacements are here now and most of my time is dedicated to handing over to them. I am really excited, now with less than a fortnight until I get home. My partner is super excited
 I have been looking at the weather down in Melbourne and it has been between 10
-15 degrees. I couldn't imagine 3 degrees, man that's cold. I expect it to be a huge shock when I return to Australia as for the last few months it has been between the mid 40's to the mid 50's.

What you and the rest of the ladies at Aussie Hero Quilts do is heart warming. The moral boost of the troops when receiving a gift like this is second to none. I cannot begin to explain how it makes the soldiers feel. I have seen first hand with my own eyes the opening of quite a few packages with quilts and the emotional change is one that is not seen often during a deployment. It is only explained as pure joy.

In Australia my job as a truckie sends me all over the country. It would please me immensely if ever the opportunity arises and I happen to be travelling though the Barossa Valley that we could meet up for a coffee or a bite to eat. I would like to do
this just to express how much it meant to me that you took the time to make this quilt.
There are not enough people like yourself and the rest of the ladies at AHQ on this earth. I really want you to know that it does not go unnoticed.


That is all for tonight.  
.....

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

Jan-Maree xx


Monday, 18 August 2014

Welcome home HMAS Darwin.....


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.

(source)
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. :-P

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.

(Source)H
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