Bags of appreciation for seamless sailors

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), ABIS Richard Cordell (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling, HMAS Stuart (F153), HMAS Dechaineux (S76)

Comet Bay College year 11 and 12 Creative Class with sailors from HMAS Stuart, after presenting them with HERO bags while the ship is alongside at Fleet Base West. (photo: ABIS Richard Cordell)
Comet Bay College year 11 and 12 Creative Class with sailors from HMAS Stuart, after presenting them with HERO bags while the ship is alongside at Fleet Base West.

A group of 12 students from Comet Bay College in Secret Harbour, Western Australia, have presented hand-made laundry bags to sailors at local base, HMAS Stirling as a token of appreciation for their service.

The Year 11 and 12 creative craft students presented the ‘dhoby’ bags to personnel onboard frigate, HMAS Stuart, and submarine, HMAS Dechaineux before experiencing a taste of Navy life.

Defence Transition Mentor at the school, Claire Hunt said the laundry bags were used for easy identification of uniforms or to store personal items while at sea.

“Presentation of Hero Laundry Bags is a small way to let the service men and women know that we are thinking of them and appreciate their service,” Mrs Hunt said.

“The original concept of this project was coordinated by a quilting group of women in New South Wales who had been making quilts and laundry bags for service men and women since 2011.

“The favourite part of the project was when they were able to hand over the finished bags to the sailors.

“Being able to do that in-person really made the biggest impact to the students,” she said.

The students took the opportunity to learn about the different roles for women and men in the Navy and the teamwork and camaraderie at the base.

Leading Seaman Acoustic Warfare Analyst Submarines Jasper Ward was one of the lucky recipients of a bag.

“The students were very thoughtful in making these bags for us because laundry can go-adrift in a submarine and this is a cool way to identify whose is whose,” Leading Seaman Ward said.

Able Seaman Marine Technician Submarines Alastair Wyatt proudly displayed his new bag to his mates.

“Their gifts were very thoughtful as laundry bags are a must have for every seagoing submariner,” Able Seaman Wyatt said.

Students were very excited to see some ex-students working at the base and surprised to find out one of them had taught their own Home Economics teacher - Julie Coyle.

Mrs Coyle said that she liked to include a community focused activity as part of the curriculum.

“The Hero Laundry Bag project was adopted to encourage our students to have a greater understanding of the sacrifices our service men and women make when they are deployed,” Mrs Coyle said.

“The students are still buzzing about the excursion,” she said.