Australia Department of Veterans Affairs Disclaimer: The Commonwealth has not participated in the research, production or exercised editorial control over the Activity or its contents. The views expressed and conclusions reached herein do not necessarily represent those of the Commonwealth, which expressly disclaims any responsibility for the content or accuracy of the Activity.
In March 2020, SEVENmile Ltd received the following letter from The Hon Darren Chester, Minister for Veterans Affairs confirming the awarding of a grant to support "Today's Youth Interview our Returned Service Personnel" program.
The Saluting Their Service program is designed to preserve Australia’s wartime heritage and to involve people throughout the nation in a wide range of projects and activities that highlight the service and sacrifice of Australia’s service personnel in wars, conflicts and peace operations, and promote appreciation and understanding of the role that those who served have played in shaping the nation.
The objective of the program is to acknowledge and commemorate those who served Australia and its allies in wars, conflicts and peace operations.
Scope is described as, digital content will be in the form of video interviews of the service personnel. Each interview will be of 5 minutes duration and the interviews will be conducted in a small studio located in Seaforth Village. The interviewers will be high school children chosen from public high schools on the northern beaches.
The interviewers were provided with a set of 10 questions questions to ask. The questions were vetted by the President of Harbord Diggers RSL sub-Branch, Sean Rout, to ensure they appropriately develop a profile of the veteran.
For many returned service personnel their stories are never told, or they may be told within the confines of their family and close friends. This is a lost opportunity for the service woman or man and for their family, community and fellow service personnel.
August 14 Filming at Wal Edwards' Manly Home
Given Wal's age, 103 at the time of filming, it was agreed that the interview with Wal would be filmed earlier and at his home. Manly MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Veterans, James Griffin, was invited to be the interviewer. James and Wal are pictured below during the setup of the studio and the full interview below the photo.
Sept 30 Filming Day at Harbord Diggers RSL Club
Nine Diggers and nine young interviewers participated in the filming day. James Griffin, MP for Manly and Parliamentary Secretary for Veterans, attended during the lunch break. James also acted as the interview for the Wal Edwards interview. Wal celebrated his 104th birthday a week later.
Pictured below, left to right, James Griffin MP for Manly, Wal Edwards OAM and Sean Rout, President Harbord Diggers RSL sub-Branch. Students, Kalahni Filby and Harry Forsyth, holding the banner, are from St Pauls Catholic College Manly.
Northern Beaches veterans agreed to share their stories of serving their country and how that service impacted their lives. Using high school students as the interviewers worked perfectly in terms of directly introducing young people to veterans living in their community. See several example comments by people who watched the documentary.
Grant funds received: $3,500 excl GST
Filming Wal Edwards OAM on August 14 in Wal's Manly home: $1,500
Editing of the Wal Edwards footage: $800
Filming Veterans at Harbord Diggers RSL on Sept 30: $3,500
Editing of Harbord Diggers footage: $1,500
Note: Aug 14 and Sept 30 included setup of a full green-screen studio with multi-camera visuals
Filming of Soldier at Dawn on Oct 14 at Long Reef headland: $1,500
Editing of Soldier at Dawn footage: $1,500
Note: Oct 14 filming included use of a drone flown by a registered drone pilot and rental of a Vietnam Army uniform
Project Management and Directing: $9,750 (130 hours at $75 per hour)
1. Project Management and Directing can be considered in-kind contribution by SEVENmile Ltd Director, Greg Twemlow
2. all filming and editing was done by Lunar Media TV and its principal videographer, Catalin Anastase
3. Lunar Media invoiced $3,300 for all of the video work performed, equating to an effective in-kind contribution of $7,000
4. rental of the soldiers uniform from WarwickUniforms in Melbourne was $200
The Saluting Their Service documentary was officially launched at Harbord Diggers RSL Club on November 11, 2020. The specially invited 40 guests included Northern Beaches Mayor, Michael Regan and Ms Julie Pert, Director Greater NSW, Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling, representing DVA. Julie is pictured below with Wal Edwards OAM and his wife Joan.