Written by Nicole W….
A group of fun and friendly Aussie Heroes quilters gathered at Simpson Barracks Watsonia earlier this month, for morning tea, a tour of the history rooms, and lunch. The kind invitation issued by Chaplain Mark Dunn gave us all a wonderful opportunity to learn about life at an ADF barracks and meet current serving members, fellow quilters, embroiderers and sewists, share ideas and exchange information about tools, techniques and other important life matters! A highlight of the day was the reception at morning tea in the Officers’ Mess, attended by around 40 Barracks defence personnel, several of whom had received laundry bags and/or quilts. Hearing their stories of how much these special gifts meant to them when they were deployed (and still today) was very moving, and gave us all further inspiration to keep sewing on for AHQ. Some of them are due to deploy later in the year, and we have a sneaking suspicion there will be a few more requests coming through!
We were also treated to a special opening of the Barracks History rooms, curated by Roy Arnott. Such a wealth of treasures he has collected over the years and presented in an interesting and entertaining way. There wasn’t a question he couldn’t answer nor a tale he couldn’t tell about the different technologies, transport, uniforms, and conditions etc over the years. There was a small selection of beautifully preserved textiles too! These history rooms are open to the public on select days if you’re interested in a visit.
Sue O, who organised last year’s AHQ gathering in Ballan, Vic, also attended the Barracks tour and brought with her the quilt she’s created from all the blocks made by those Ballan lunch ladies, combined with some beautiful embroidered blocks from Rhonda R. It is just fabulous, and will be jetting off to a recipient soon. It was great that so many of the block-makers were at the Simpson Barracks tour, and we were thrilled to see our blocks made up into this delightful quilt.
Huge thanks to Chaplain Andrew McNeil and especially Chaplain Mark Dunn who instigated, co-ordinated and generously hosted our visit, making sure we all were greeted and checked in, and ended up where we were supposed to; well fed, watered, and enlightened! And we are grateful to Commandant of Defence Command Support Training Centre COL Kath Stewart for her warm welcome and kind words about AHQ.
Till next time… keep spreading the word and happy stitching!