The laundry in HMAS Ballarat is a lot more colourful these days thanks to a range of personalised laundry bags.
CAPTION: Able Seamen Cerys Zurek and Abbi Greenaway, Seaman Tiago Torres and Able Seaman Richard New display their personalised dhoby bags in the laundry of HMAS Ballarat. Story by Lieutenant Gary McHugh. Photo by Leading Seaman Ernesto Sanchez.
Colloquially known as dhoby bags, they were provided by a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting deployed ADF members.
Ballarat’s Chaplain Giles Atherton made contact with Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags before the ship sailed for its current deployment to request the unique, handmade bags for the ship’s company, with personnel each choosing one that suited their personality.
“It wasn’t long before the dhoby bags started rolling in and now each member of the ship’s company has been issued one,” Chaplain Atherton said.
“Each bag came with a brief biography of the crafter who made it which gives a bit of personality to the item.
“They add a bit of colour to the ship and has a positive influence on the morale of the crew.”
In a letter to crew members, Aussie Hero Quilts Founder Jan-Maree Ball said the bags were made by volunteers from all across the country.
“Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags is an online community group that encourages people around Australia to make quilts and laundry bags to send to our deployed troops to let them know their service is appreciated,” Ms Ball said.
“Since 2012 we have sent more than 12,000 quilts and 30,000 laundry bags to our deployed service personnel.”
Commanding Officer Ballarat, Commander Antony Pisani, said personnel were appreciative of the personalised gifts.
“Everyone was really grateful to receive these dhoby bags and appreciated the work of the individual crafters who made them,” Commander Pisani said.
“I’d like to thank Ms Ball and the rest of the volunteers who perform this selfless act for deployed personnel.”
Ballarat is conducting a three-month Regional Presence Deployment throughout South-East Asia and north Asia.