National Features and Documentary Series

Disconnected States

Lachlan Wyllie, 28th September 2017
Produced by Simon Finch (The Pulse, Geelong)
Mentored by Lorena Allam (ABC Radio National)

Consider a trip to a shopping centre, or a walk in the park. How do you feel thinking about these activities?

They may seem everyday for many of us, but it can be more complicated when living with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

In Disconnected States, Simon Finch gets to know a Geelong community of defence force veterans attempting to return to civilian life. It’s far from straight-forward, but there are programs trying to make a difference.

National Features and Documentary SeriesI arrived at the Geelong RSL with a camera and a tripod expecting to record a meeting of the RSL Connect Committee for radio and TV. 

The room was full of men, some neat, huge and intimidating, and then there was Toni Podbury. 

It was soon apparent that recording the meeting would not be possible, as some members were still in active service, and that I had no idea what I was doing. 

However, as I listened to stories of veterans returning home and shutting themselves away and of the connect program helping them walk through crowded shopping centres again and connecting them into a group and how surfing can help, I heard a soundscape from silence to chaos and into nature. 

That is where the initial idea for Disconnected States came from. 

Toni Podbury and Tavis Watt wanted to get word out to veterans and their families in Geelong, the surf coast and the Bellarine peninsula, that help was available and a community of people like them existed.

I eventually saw my community radio station and Vicki Hallett’s New And Experimental Arts Lab (NEAL) existing for similar reasons; they existed to connect with people, give them a voice, a community and opportunities that could potentially heal or at the very least enrich people’s lives. 

We also similarly suffered a dire lack of funds and awareness within the community. 

Then Gregory Day, the immensely gifted, gracious and wise artist summed it all up as I sat watching him though the viewfinder of a camera in a book lined study talk about possibly the oldest story there is. 

I hope you enjoy Disconnected States. I would love to hear your thoughts on this also. Contact me at


This piece was made for the CBAA's National Features & Documentary Series 2017, a showcase of work by new and emerging Australian community radio producers, with training and mentoring provided by the Community and Media Training Organisation. The opinions expressed in National Features & Documentary Series content are those of the individual producers or their interviewees, and not necessarily shared by the CBAA or CMTO.

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