Diggers’ memories live on | Anzac Memories Moreton Bay Region

Diggers’ memories live on

Many WWII veterans still carry the scars of war’s untold horrors alongside memories of mateship, emotional homecomings and a difficult return to civilian life.

Those who are still with us, are now aged in their late 90s or even older, so the need to preserve these memories for future generations has become quite urgent.

Albany Creek-based filmmaker Jeff Hughes and his business partner Rachel Dutton started a charity called This Story last year, interviewing veterans and creating videos that bring their memories together with photos, wartime music and historic records of their service.

They’ve recorded 16 videos so far, and of those, five veterans have since passed away. Jeff says there’s an urgency to record these stories before we lose any more.

What they do

Jeff and his cameraman usually spend a couple of hours with a veteran, but each interview is different – some take longer, if the veteran has more to say.

The interviews are relaxed, not scripted and might start after a cup of tea.

“Often they will tell us more than they’ve told their family. We make them comfortable,” he explains.

“I think it’s a combination of showing respect that someone is there, and they want to listen to everything. I think that takes down some of the boundaries and borders (that can get in the way),” he says.

Often veterans have intentionally shielded their families from these stories and the pain that goes with them.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to listen. It’s a privilege,” Jeff says.

The result is a keepsake for families, but also an important historical resource.

How these stories will be used

The videos will be gifted to the John Oxley Library’s WWII collection, under the umbrella of the Queensland State Library, and will be available to the public. You will be able to search for a veteran by their name or the conflict they were involved in.

“We want these veterans’ words and stories to be heard,” Jeff says.

The This Story team hopes to record stories across Queensland and eventually in other states, in partnership with libraries in those jurisdictions. They have more than 20 they would like to film this year in Queensland alone.

“We want to create the largest collection of WWII interviews in Australia and have them housed in libraries that people can access,” Jeff says.

Moving memories

In July, 2019, Jeff interviewed Caboolture WWII veteran Arthur (Artie) James McClure who joined the war effort as a topographer in response to the threat of Japanese invasion.

Artie travelled to Darwin straight after the bombing and also served in Borneo. Jeff says Artie’s memories of experiences in Borneo were raw and horrific.

“Artie’s is probably the most emotional we’ve done,” he says.

“He was quite happy to leave the past in the past. As he talked to us, things came up that he struggled with.”

In his video, Artie who is 102 this year, shares memories of a childhood growing up on a farm in Caboolture, his war service and his service to the community upon his return.

WWII Veterans - Part 3

With Anzac Day Commemorative Services being cancelled due to COVID-19, it is more imporatant than ever to ensure our Veterans are not forgotten. Here is the latest snippet from our Veteran Interview Documentaries. We will continue to share our Veterans stories with you and we will also continue to share your comments with our Veterans. Your support means so much to them. Please leave your messages of support below

Posted by This Story on Wednesday, 18 March 2020

How you can help

If you know a veteran who should be featured, Jeff and the team want to hear from you.

They also desperately need donations to continue their work, with each video costing $3500-$4000 to create. Jeff hopes the general public and corporations will get behind them.

“Every dollar helps. Forgo that $5 cup of coffee this week,” he says.

Businesses and corporations can even sponsor a veteran’s video.

Want to find out more? Head to the This Story Facebook page or visit the website

For more ANZAC Day news, head here

#moretonbaytough

Are you #MoretonBayTough?

Pledge your commitment to support local, spread kindness and show you're Moreton Bay Tough

Sign the Pledge for Free!

item.title
National Simultaneous Storytime Goes Online

Nothing can get in the way of a good book, not even coronavirus, which is why this year’s National Simultaneous Storytime is going digital. It’s on today at 11am. Read More

item.title
From teaching in the classroom one day, to in-home schooling the next. How STEM Punks got #MoretonBayTough

STEM Punks which provides science, technology, engineering and mathematics education to students mostly through incursions at schools. Read More

Join the Conversation

We might be spending most of our time indoors, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay silent – stay connected!

#MoretonBayTough Facebook Group   Sign The Pledge