Comet Bay College students enhance submarine laundry capability

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Helen Ward (author), LSIS Ernesto Sanchez (photographer)

Location(s): Secret Harbour, WA

Topic(s): HMAS Collins (S73)

Students and teachers of Comet Bay College present their handmade laundry bags to the Commanding Officer of HMAS Collins, Commander Robin Dainty, RAN, along with the crew members on board HMAS Collins, Fleet Base West, WA. (photo: LSIS Ernesto Sanchez)
Students and teachers of Comet Bay College present their handmade laundry bags to the Commanding Officer of HMAS Collins, Commander Robin Dainty, RAN, along with the crew members on board HMAS Collins, Fleet Base West, WA.

Sailors from HMAS Collins were delighted to receive laundry bags made by Year 10 students in home economics classes at Comet Bay College in Western Australia.

Commanding Officer HMAS Collins, Commander Robin Dainty welcomed the eight students and three teachers on board presenting them with a framed photo of the submarine and the ship’s crest.

“It is privilege to welcome you to our home, not exactly a cruise ship but we do appreciate your generous donation of these very useful laundry bags,” Commander Dainty said.

“Laundry bags are an essential piece of kit for submariners as we do most of our washing ashore and need large sturdy bags to keep it all secure.”

Comet Bay College Home Economics Teacher, Ms Nicole French, whose father and grandfather both served in the Army, detailed how the students took responsibility for the entire project.

Comet Bay College teacher Nicole French smiles as she steps down on the ladder bay during a tour of HMAS Collins at Fleet Base West, WA.

Comet Bay College teacher Nicole French smiles as she steps down on the ladder bay during a tour of HMAS Collins at Fleet Base West, WA.

Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef Submarines Garreth Shackleton shows Comet Bay College students Zoe Mummery and Finlay Taylor the laundry onboard HMAS Collins while alongside at Fleet Base West, WA.

Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Chef Submarines Garreth Shackleton shows Comet Bay College students Zoe Mummery and Finlay Taylor the laundry onboard HMAS Collins while alongside at Fleet Base West, WA.

“They started by developing a pattern for the laundry bag design, then went on an excursion to purchase the required materials, carried out exhaustive product testing which included unpicking/resewing when seams failed while mastering techniques on both sewing machines and overlockers,” Ms French said.

Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Cook Submariner Garreth Shackleton proudly escorted one group of students and teachers through a variety of compartments in the submarine, including the laundry.

“The submarine is only 78 metres long and we have a crew of 60, so that equates to less than 1.5 metres each,” Able Seaman Shackleton explained.

“All the students and teachers were amazed to see how small the laundry is on board a submarine.

“I can see why you prefer to take your laundry ashore, I could barely move in there, it is smaller than our cupboards,” Ms French said.

A few of the students were heard commenting on how big their bedrooms at home were when compared to the crew accommodation.

Comet Bay College has strong links to the Australian Defence Force, with its own Military History Museum and 61 students with parents currently serving.