About This Story

Our mission

To educate, engage and connect communities through the production of powerful personal digital stories of Australia’s military veterans.

Our Core Values

Our Values extends to our Veterans, Sponsors, Supporters, the military community and all involved with this project.

Storytellers

Facts are not enough. The personal stories of those with a lived experience provides a richness and deep connection with the way we view history.

Humanistic

We emphasise the personal worth of the individual – and personalise history – by empowering every Veteran of every conflict to share their individual stories.

Legacy

It is crucially important for future generations to discern and appreciate the men and women who have served Australia for both who they are and not just what they did. These ‘living legacies’ ensure their incredible stories and personal experiences will live on.

Connection

The stories of our Veterans transcend stereotypes and offer connection through better understanding of the human experience and emotions. We celebrate diversity of opinion and existence.

Changemakers

We aim to change the status quo about veterans suffering in silence. We know that to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health wounds, we need to encourage veterans to talk and as a community, we need to listen.

Our Story

With a passion for documentary film, Jeff interviewed a WWII veteran name David White who had been diagnosed with onset Alzheimer’s disease. As David recalled story after story from his unique perspective during and after WWII, Jeff realised that we as a country were on the verge of losing all of these incredible stories as told by the people who experienced it first-hand.

This Story Australia was initially created to capture the stories of our surviving WWII Veterans. As well as highlighting significant events in Australia’s history, the interview documentaries created a legacy for the veterans, their families and their communities. Put simply, these interview documentaries could ensure our WWII Veterans would never be forgotten. Their legacy would allow both current and future generations to gain valuable insights into the ordinary men and women who did the extraordinary.

Due to the overwhelming, positive response to our WWII Veterans, the project has expanded to include all veterans (past and present).

Our philosophy is that through the sharing of real, personal stories we can connect better as a community and unite as a country. This also provide us with better understanding of the experiences and challenges faced by many veterans throughout their service and upon return to civilian life and with understanding comes compassion.

Jeff Hughes, David White and the Redcliffe ANZAC memorial

Our Team

The core team at This Story Australia is small but dynamic. Each member is passionate about bringing the personal stories of our Veterans to life and brings a comprehensive skill set to the organisation.
Jeff Hughes

Jeff Hughes

Executive Producer

Jeff is our Executive Producer and co-founder of This Story Australia. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in History and Drama (film). Jeff has previous experience in broadcast television and feature film in Canada and has worked for over 20 years teaching Drama and Film & TV through high schools, TAFE and Universities here in Australia.

Stepping into the documentary arena was a natural progression and a chance to implement all the strategies and knowledge he has built as a teacher.

Jeff is responsible for the full production of the documentary interviews from the initial contact with Veterans right through the subtleties of post-production.

On the odd occasion when Jeff is not working, he can usually be found practicing his swing … either on the golf course or the baseball diamond.

Rachel Dutton

Rachel Dutton

General Manager

Rachel is our General Manager and co-founder of This Story Australia. As a former Financial Adviser and possessing a strong business background, she is well-positioned to oversee the strategic operation and financial management of This Story.

Rachel holds a Bachelor of Complementary Medicine and is currently studying Kinesiology. With a focus on mental health and wellbeing, she hopes to be able to utilise her studies to provide additional support to veterans and their families.

An over-enthusiastic hobbyist, Rachel enjoys photography, music, meditation, genealogy, reading, sodoku and has a proficient knowledge of completely useless facts.

Luke Nicolaou

Luke Nicolaou

Senior Cinematographer

Luke is our Senior Cinematographer. Luke is an accomplished award-winning news camera operator for Nine News in Queensland. In his five years in the role, he has covered the stories behind some of the biggest events in the state’s history, including the 2019 bushfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and state and federal elections. He has also covered the personal stories of heroism, camaraderie and perseverance that characterises the Australian spirit.

Luke has been with us on this journey since the start and has certainly clocked up some kilometres.

Dean Brennan

Dean Brennan

Senior Cinematographer

Dean has come on board as another Senior Cinematographer and Technical Adviser. Dean is an award-winning independent film maker and digital content producer with over 10 years’ experience in the areas of documentary, commercial, corporate, music video and Independent feature film. His experience spans all aspects of filmmaking including planning, cinematography, post- production and delivery.

Although Dean has a keen eye behind the camera, he has also a vast experience in ‘Post.’

Tristan Michael Savage

Tristan Michael Savage

Indigenous Cultural Advisor

Tristan Michael Savage is a Brisbane-based, Kalkadoon man who grew up in Townsville, North Queensland. He attended James Cook University and was awarded a Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Theatre and a Bachelor of Theatre (Honours).

Tristan is the author of the young adult sci-fi adventure novel Rift Breaker and has written for the Logie nominated children’s television series, Grace Beside Me.

Tristan has joined the This Story team as an Indigenous Cultural Advisor, ensuring sensitivities are addressed and respected when interviewing and reporting on Indigenous history and Indigenous involvement in Australia’s military service.

Tristan’s other creative pursuits include the performing arts, filmmaking, and stand-up comedy.

Kirsty Claassen

Kirsty Claassen

Admin Assistant

Kirsty is our Admin Assistant and Transcriptionist. Kirsty has ten years’ experience working in community services, at a local government level and in the not-for-profit sector, with a particular interest in understanding brain development and the effect of exposure to trauma. For the past two years, she has been working at a local RSL Sub Branch, supporting the welfare of the veteran and senior community. Kirsty is the very proud wife of an Afghanistan veteran.

After several postings around NSW, NT and QLD with the Australian Army, Kirsty and her husband settled in Ipswich with their two lovely girls.

Tim Page polaroids
Tim Page polaroids

Strategic Partnerships

State Library of QLD logo

State Library of Queensland

The completed personal documentary interviews from This Story Australia are an important addition to the State Library's expansive collection of wartime resources. These resources aim to deepen our understanding of military conflicts and provide a rich documentary record of life in Queensland.

Gadens Lawyers logo

Gadens

We are proud to partner with Gadens Lawyers in Brisbane for our legal advice. Gadens is a leading law firm with offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Their vision is to be a preeminent, independent firm renowned for providing outstanding client service, innovative solutions and value.

NT Libraries logo

Northern Territory Library

Library and Archives NT is the keeping place for important materials relating to the history and culture of the Northern Territory. Darwin is steeped in military history including being bombed 65 times during WWII along with targets elsewhere in the Territory. The personal documentary interviews by This Story Australia add to this already significant collection.