Hear Their Story

The personal stories of Hornsby Ku-ring-gai residents that were involved in the War in Vietnam: sappers, infantrymen, pilots and Vietnamese.
Finalist in the 2018 CBAA awards for “Talks”.
Produced with the assistance of the Community Broadcasting Foundation .

Hear Their Story

Want to know more?

Veterans can always find support from Vietnam Veterans Peacemakers and Peacekeepers Association of Australia or at their local RSL Hornsby RSL Sub Branch.
You can listen to these episodes using your favourite podcast player. Just search “Hear Their Story”. Apple podcasts can be found here – iTunes podcast.

1. Kick The Moon

The day that man first landed on the moon, an Australian patrol in Vietnam was devastated by a landmine explosion. The incident was made famous by the Redgum song “I was only 19”. This is an eyewitness account of what really happened that day and how, for one soldier David Sturmer, that detonation echoed over the next forty years.

2. Bad Moon- Binh Ba

Modern warfare has distanced us from the trauma of battle. Returned soldiers go quiet on their experiences. One soldier spent three continuous days in battle in Vietnam. He relates what it is like inside a firefight in the battle of Binh Ba, and what is was like returning to Sydney after his tour.

3. Over the Moon – Operation Babylift

War is about killing people and breaking things. But some people spend their war saving lives. Ian Getley was a pilot who flew missions in the dying days of the war in Vietnam evacuating civilians from war zones, including a plane load of orphans some of them only a few weeks old. This was known as Operation Babylift. It was an experience that still brings him to tears fifty years later.

4. Incident at Xuyen Moc

Phillip Chin Quan was conscripted into the Australian Army in 1970. It was the first time he had ever left home. He became part of Psychological Operations, working closely with Vietnamese villagers to identify enemy infiltration. This often put him in harms way, but gave him a deep understanding of the people they were fighting a war amongst.

5. Tough Luck, Pal

Bill Roberts is from a military family so it seemed only natural he would enlist in 1963. He became a medic and did a tour of Borneo in the Konfrontasi, and then was posted to Vietnam, a very different conflict.

6. No Guns, No War

Minh Tuyen Hoang is known to his friends as Joseph, and he runs a successful bakery and restaurant in Hornsby Mall. What many of his friends don’t know is he was born near Ha Long Bay, was conscripted into the North Vietnamese Army at the age of 16, spent six months on the Ho Chi Minh Trail under constant attack from American B52 bombers, had his hand blown off by a mine, and then fled Vietnam through Khmer Rouge controlled Cambodia to Thailand where he was accepted as a refugee by Australia.

7. Let Me Go

Part 2 of the story of Helen and Joseph, who met after the fall of Saigon. Helen escapes from the communist regime with eight other members of her family. After trials few of us would survive, she is re-united with her husband in Hornsby.

8. Kick The Moon Part 2

David Sturmer is discharged from the army in 1970 and starts to fight his second war, grappling with PTSD. His psychologist and his painting help put Vietnam over his shoulder. He now helps returning soldiers whenever he can.

9. When The War Is Over

When the war is over, is the war over? Veterans returning from Vietnam were faced with public rejection and the ghosts and demons they carried with them. They learn how to navigate the new world and give help to those following.


Producer: Neil Ashworth
Original music by Clive Lane and Rowan Lane
Acoustic guitar playing by Clive Lane
Subject research and recommendations from Mark Parrott and Lucy Dahill
Graphics from an original by Patrick Crawford
Episode 1 artwork from a painting by David Sturmer
Transcription: Amy Tran

Produced with the support of the Community Broadcasting Foundation and Triple H 100.1 FM, the Voice of Hornsby Ku-ring-gai.


Digital Audio Workstation: Hindenburg Journalist Pro
Episode 1,2,3,8,9: Rode Podcaster, Hindenburg Field Recorder on iPhone 5
Episode 4,5,6,7: Rode Reporter, iRig Pro Duo, Hindenburg Field Recorder on iPhone 7