The Hobart

Local Lad Darran Petty

by Bonnie Mary Liston
Local Lad Darran Petty

After a rough childhood that included periods of homelessness, Darran Petty turned his life around through the power of bodybuilding. He now owns and operates his own martial arts studio in Hobart, as well as running a podcast and starting a filmmaking company.

Tell us about yourself? I was born in Mildura, Victoria. Life was tough, living without a father until my abusive, alcoholic stepfather came into my life. My teenage years were even tougher after the death of my stepfather in jail. I was forced to move away from my family home and I entered a very early life of drug and alcohol abuse. In the year 2000 I decided to change my life by starting a bodybuilding career after watching Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Pumping Iron. Although heavily intoxicated while watching it, I was determined to change and ultimately saved my life. I won State, National and International awards in bodybuilding before changing course to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, where I also became a State, National and International champion. I also came 5th at the Mr Universe championship in Germany 2007.

Where in Hobart do you live? Kingston.

What’s the best thing about Hobart? The best thing about Hobart is the vibe, we are a close knit community.

And the worst? Cold weather. I don’t like cold weather.

Tell us a little about your work? I am a self-taught filmmaker, podcaster and martial arts academy owner and head coach. I have been filmmaking since 2013 and have worked most notably with Arnold Schwarzenegger and travelled the world with 2012 London Olympic boxing captain Luke Jackson. My podcast is up to its 90th episode and I have interviewed some of the most wonderful people in Hobart.

Have you had a favourite guest so far? My all-time favourite guest so far is the one and only Robyn Moore. Robyn is the voice of Blinky Bill and How Green Was My Cactus. Robyn is also now my mentor and I love her to bits.

I’m inspired by… By those who have forged their lives against the odds and work hard each and everyday to achieve their life goals. I have worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger and learnt that in order to impact the world you must create a personal brand and work like hell. I have learnt from Robyn Moore that to impact the world you must be open minded to every possible opportunity and never give up.

What’s your dream project to work on? Wow, I have already worked on so many of my dream projects that’s for sure, but right now I’m working on setting up my new city studio and we are video documenting it as we go! I am also in the midst of writing a book about my life and have ramped up my speaking gigs. I am also thinking about making a film series about the youth of Hobart.

You’ve been very active working against homelessness in Tasmania, is there anything on that topic you’d like to share in this space? Homeless is as real as it gets and has, or will, impact us all in one way or another. My attention is on helping and inspiring the youth of Tasmania and Australia to do what I did and find a way out by telling my story and hopefully inspiring them to follow in my footsteps to create their own pathways out.

What do you love doing outside work? I love my daughter, travelling, reading and riding my bike.

Where’s your favourite Hobart eatery? You’ll find me Pep Pizza with my martial arts academy once per week.

Drink of choice and where do you head for it? Love having a drink at The Glass House on the wharf.

Guilty pleasure? Red wine!

Favourite team? The Tasmania Jack Jumpers.

I’d like to travel to… Los Angeles, New York, Rome, the Mediterranean, Europe, Middle East.

When there’s nothing to do, I… Read books.

Where to next? Continue building my martial arts academy (Trojan Academy) and podcast. I am also launching a multimedia company (Action Potential Media) off the success of my personal brand (Darran Petty Films). The name ‘Action Potential Media’ is my daughter’s initials ‘Ayla Petty’ and an action potential occurs when a neuron sends information. An example of action potentials are found as nerve impulses in nerve fibres to muscles. Neurons, or nerve cells. I believe that action creates potential and not the other way around!

Quote to live by? Never ever give up.

Interview: Bonnie Mary Liston
Image: Josh Lovell

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August 2022

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