Letters and laundry bags the fabric of support

Aussie Hero Quilts had it in the bag when they reached out to HMAS Adelaide and offered laundry bags for their upcoming deployments on Exercises Sea Explorer, Sea Raider and Talisman Sabre.

CAPTIONADF members choose a new Aussie Hero Quilts dhoby bag during HMAS Adelaide’s transit to North Queensland. Story by Able Seaman Rikki-Lea Phillips. All photos by Petty Officer Craig Walton.

About 250 laundry bags, known as dhoby bags, were gifted to the sailors, soldiers and aviators on the ship during its transit to Townsville in North Queensland for Sea Series.

Aussie Hero Quilts’ gift not only enabled seasoned sailors and officers to replace their ageing dhoby bags, but also gave new personnel from the Australian Amphibious Force their first.

HMAS Adelaide’s Command Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer Dion Blair, coordinated the gifting of the bags on the flight deck and shared memories of when he received his first almost a decade ago.

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CAPTIONMembers from HMAS Adelaide’s ship’s company and embarked forces show off their new Aussie Hero Quilts dhoby bags on the ship’s flight deck.

“My dhoby bag has an Indigenous pattern on it with turtles and other native animals,” Warrant Officer Blair said.

“The Indigenous pattern ties in with the artwork in my cabin and the turtles represent the love I have for being in the ocean and surfing – it’s a place of peace for me.

“It’s humbling to know people are thinking of us in the ADF and are donating their time to support us while we are away from our friends and family.”

Each patchwork bag was unique and came with a letter from the volunteer, giving insight into their connection to Defence.

Able Seaman Samantha Adams learned the volunteer who made her dhoby bag was the parent of a current serving member.

“It’s beautiful that we receive words with these gifts that brighten up our day, knowing that these letters from the heart are from volunteers who can relate with our loved ones back home,” Able Seaman Adams said.

“It adds a level of gratitude that doesn’t fall on deaf ears. The thought and effort that has gone into this bag is amazing, it is so beautifully sewn.

“I look forward to responding to the letter to thank them for their hard work.”

Aussie Hero Quilts is made up of more than 300 volunteers who hand make quilts, laundry bags and mats for military working dogs.

To become a volunteer for Aussie Hero Quilts, visit aussieheroquilts.blogspot.com.au

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CAPTIONFrom left, Leading Seaman Jay Lymbery, Seaman Caitlyn Dawes and Petty Officer Jacob Machen show off their new dhoby bags on the flight deck of HMAS Adelaide.


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