Legendary television presenter Caroline Jones is stepping down from her role as presenter of Australian Story, departing the ABC after more than 50 years.
She has presented Australian Story since its launch in 1996 and ABC confirms she will not be replaced.
“This is not an easy decision for me. The ABC is in my DNA. So is Australian Story, and that will not change,” Ms Jones said.
“It’s been a joy and a privilege to have 20-plus years with the program, with the fine team who produce it, and with the generous Australians who tell us their stories, giving profound insights into the complexity of our human condition in a speedily evolving world.
“I’m far too busy to retire, but now there are some other loyalties claiming my attention, and I move on to the next phase of my life with gratitude. There’s always another adventure ahead.
“And I’ll continue to be number one Australian Story fan, along with the rest of the country.”
Director of News Gaven Morris paid tribute to Ms Jones’ tremendous contribution to the ABC and to the Australian media as a whole.
“Caroline is simply a legend of Australian journalism, a trailblazer, an inspiration and a role model for so many women in the media,” he said. “She is also a fine journalist and broadcaster, one of Australia’s best communicators, and a terrific human being.
“We will miss her deeply at the ABC.”
Executive Producer Deb Masters said: “From the beginning, Caroline helped shape Australian Story. She has a unique capacity to recognise the tone and the heart of a story.
“Caroline’s insights have been invaluable, and her enduring grace and wisdom appreciated by all. We will miss her.”
Australian Story returns to air on 6 February.
Caroline Jones AO
Caroline Jones is a journalist, broadcaster and writer who has had a 50-year association with the ABC, first joining ABC Canberra in 1963.
Among other achievements, she was the first woman reporter on Australia’s first national nightly current affairs program, This Day Tonight (1968-72), and the first woman to anchor Four Corners (1972-81), a job she combined with presenting current affairs on ABC Sydney morning radio.
For eight years (1987-1994) Caroline presented The Search For Meaning on ABC Radio National, in which hundreds of Australian men and women told of their lives. Four books were published by ABC Books from transcripts of those programs. Caroline’s fifth book, An Authentic Life – Finding Meaning And Spirituality In Everyday Life, was a top 10 bestseller in 1998.
Caroline’s gently prising, “confessional” interview style in The Search For Meaning became a template for the highly successful Australian Story, which she has presented and contributed to since its launch in May 1996.
Caroline has received numerous awards for her work in broadcasting, reporting, producing and writing, including a Logie Award and a Walkley Award recognising her outstanding contribution to journalism. In 1988 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia and in 1997 she was voted one of Australia’s National Living Treasures.
Some of her other key roles have included being a foundation member of the Australian Council for the Arts and being appointed an Ambassador for Reconciliation by the Aboriginal Council for Reconciliation. She is also an Ambassador for the Mary MacKillop Foundation and since 2013 has been National Patron of mentoring and networking program Women in Media.
Caroline was raised in the NSW country town of Murrurundi. Much of her work has been dedicated to listening to her fellow Australians and drawing out their stories.