Aussie Hero Quilts deliver ten thousandth gift

Published on POIS Phillip Cullinan (author), ABMT Leo Baumgartner (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base East, Sydney

Topic(s): HMAS Collins (S73)

Founder of Aussie Hero Quilts, Mrs Jan-Maree Ball, OAM, presents Commanding Officer HMAS Collins, Commander Christopher Ellis, RAN, and members of ship's company with the 10,000th hero quilt. (photo: ABMT Leo Baumgartner)
Founder of Aussie Hero Quilts, Mrs Jan-Maree Ball, OAM, presents Commanding Officer HMAS Collins, Commander Christopher Ellis, RAN, and members of ship's company with the 10,000th hero quilt.

Aussie Hero Quilts have just reached the milestone of ten thousand items produced by volunteers to help bring a touch of home to deployed ADF members.

Most members of the Australian Defence Force know who Aussie Hero Quilts are. Volunteers from behind the scenes, many unsung heroes give freely of their own time to create quilts and laundry bags for people they have never met. The generosity from the volunteers has become legendary.

“Our hero quilts and laundry bags are gifts to say thank you for your service and the sacrifice that you have given to be apart from your loved ones,” said Jan-Maree Ball, founder of Aussie Hero Quilts.

In late November 2018, Jan-Maree made a special visit to one of the Royal Australian Navy's Submarines, HMAS Collins, while berthed at Fleet Base East, Sydney, NSW.  Jan-Maree was there to deliver quilts to ten members of the crew who had performed extremely well during the recent Unit Readiness Exercise and who had not yet been recognised in other ways.  

Able Seaman Acoustic Warfare Analyst Submariner Ryan McDougall-Fisher inspects his laundry bag which was presented to him by founder of Aussie Aussie Hero Quilts, Mrs Jan-Maree Ball, OAM.

Able Seaman Acoustic Warfare Analyst Submariner Ryan McDougall-Fisher inspects his laundry bag which was presented to him by founder of Aussie Aussie Hero Quilts, Mrs Jan-Maree Ball, OAM.

In a significant milestone for Aussie Hero Quilts, the 10,000th quilt was presented to Able Seaman Shawn Guganovic during a clear lower deck of the entire crew, watched on by Commanding Officer, HMAS Collins Commander Christopher Ellis. Once dismissed, the entire crew was given the opportunity to select a personal laundry bag from a collection of nautical and submarine themed bags made especially for them.

Volunteers who make quilts and laundry bags come from all over Australia and range in various ages from children to the elderly.

“Many of our quilts are personalised for individual members,” said Jan-Maree.

“We like to think our quilts are not works of art, but works of the heart.”