Jeff Hughes is a Moreton Bay local working to enhance and preserve the considerable contribution that Australia’s war veterans have made to the nation's heritage and international standing.
This Story Australia, a charity established by Jeff and his partner Rachel Dutton from North Lakes, curates the personal stories of some of Australia’s veterans, young and old, putting a record of their individual experiences onto high definition video that is now being shared online with other veterans and the wider public.
“His filming equipment wasn’t overly intimidating or intrusive. Occasionally and at pertinent places, Jeff asked Dad deeper questions about an incident or person. The end result is brilliant.”
Jeff has been honing his craft for many years now, and founded the charity, the only organisation in Australia doing this important work, in January 2020.
While Jeff says This Story Australia’s greatest achievement is its contribution to the preservation of Australia’s national heritage, his work has also achieved cinematic fame internationally, with a recent win in the famed Mykonos International Film Festival, where his “Second Generation ANZAC:The Story of Alf Carpenter, picked up first prize in the Best Short Documentary category.
War veteran Alf Carpenter lived long enough to see his completed story on screen, but has unfortunately since passed away, aged 105.
Sadly many veterans whose stories Jeff would love to tell are growing old while they wait, and Jeff’s interview list grows longer.
Susan Hurley, the daughter of World War Two veteran David White, explained how Jeff went about recording her fathers’s wartime experiences.
“Jeff arrived at the nursing home and explained simply how it was all going to happen. He asked Dad open questions about his life journey, his involvement in the war, life in the army and family life to which Dad chatted. His filming equipment wasn’t overly intimidating or intrusive. Occasionally and at pertinent places, Jeff asked Dad deeper questions about an incident or person. The end result is brilliant,” she said. “ Dad passed away in April of 2016.”
While the charity’s work has so far been funded through fundraising events and grants, Jeff and Rachel have also personally funded many of the projects.
This Story is actively looking for corporate and private sponsors, large and small, so that Jeff can continue to capture these compelling stories that Australia’s veterans have to share.
To help, the charity can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch directly with Jeff on 0439 661 448.
To see some of the amazing stories preserved so far, go to www.thisstory.com.au and click on the ‘Our Veterans’ tab.