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Update on Les


The Bush Tucker Man

Born Brisbane Qld 13 August 1946.

Son of a WW2 veteran.

Childhood spent in Cairns and Brisbane.

Married with two adult children.

Daughter is a Marine Science teacher and son is an Army Blackhawk pilot.

Joined the Australian Army in 1966 as a private soldier in Infantry.

Two tours of Vietnam (1966,67,68,& 69) as a forward scout in infantry units, 6RAR, 7RAR, 1RAR.

Commissioned with the rank of 2Lt. in 1971.

Corps transferred from Infantry to Army Aviation Corps in 1974.

In 1975 led the Pudding Pan Hill Expedition in search of explorer Edmund Kennedy's death site on Cape York Peninsular. (See ABC TV, Big Country - Camp 84)

Commenced private self-funded research into Bush Foods in 1977.

1979 researched and led an expedition retracing the journals of explorer Christie Palmerston in the North Queensland rainforests. (ABC TV World on Monday - The Russell River Mystery)

Awarded a Defence Fellowship in 1980 to research Survival in Northern Australia at Townsville's James Cook University.

Seconded from James Cook University in 1981 and posted into the Directorate of Special Action Forces (DSAF) by Brigadier Mike Jefferies (our present Governor General here in Australia) to head up the direction of Australian Army Survival Policy for Special Forces.

Raised the Army Combat Survival Project in 1982, based from Lavarack Barracks, Townsville.

Principal author of the Australian Army's Combat Survival manual, published in 1987.

Awarded the Australia Medal (A.M.) Order of Australia, Queen’s Birthday honours list 1987, for work carried out in the Australian Army.

July 1987 commenced work on the joint ABC TV / Dept of Defence television production Bush Tucker Man, completing production May 1988.

Retired from the Australian Regular Army, March 1989, with the rank of Major.

January1990 commenced filming the second series of Bush Tucker Man (ABC TV) and completed November 1990.

May 1991 awarded the Thompson Foundation Medal by the Royal Geographic Society (Qld). (The Thompson Foundation medal has in the past been awarded to people like Burt Hinkler and Scott of the Antarctic.)

Conducted extensive consultancy work for the Department of Defence (1992-3), the Northern Territory Conservation Commission, the Northern Territory Tourist Commission (1992 until 1995), and Rover Australia Pty Ltd. (Land Rover - 1992 until April 2005).

In Jan 1993, on behalf of the Queensland Museum and ABC TV, dived on the British Naval ship HMS Pandora and filmed the saga titled Pandora- in the wake of the Bounty in the Torres Strait. (ABC TV)

November 1993, took on the domestic television and print media campaign for Fosters Brewing (CUB) for two years.

In September 1994, completed a one hour documentary for ABC TV diving on the wreck of the Dutch ship "Batavia" (1629) off the West Australian coastline. This Documentary was screened in April 1995.

Australia Day Ambassador for the Australia Day Council 1995 (Armidale, New England, NSW).

In 1995 commenced filming the third ABC TV series Bush Tucker Man - Stories of Survival, an eight part historical series which first went to air in 1996.

Mid 1996 commenced publishing facsimile reproductions of Australian explorers’ journals as part of a publishing series, the first being William Carron’s Narrative of Kennedy's Cape York Expedition. This was then followed by publishing the journal of Ludwig Leichhardt and his 1845 expedition to Port Essington, and The Complete Jardine Expedition Journals. In 1999 published the complete works of Captain Charles Sturt’’s explorations. The publication of these facsimiles are a joint business venture totally funded by Les Hiddins and Dr Richard Barnes (Corkwood Press). The aim of the project is to get explorers’ journals back on the shelf in libraries around Australia.

In conjunction with ABC TV and Natural Learning Multimedia, produced the two CD ROM Multimedia computer titles, Bush Tucker Man, in September 1996.

The television series Bush Tucker Man has now been sold to over 50 overseas countries.

In Nov Dec 1996, produced and published the book Bush Tucker Man - Stories of Survival in conjunction with ABC Publishing. Total print run of 46,000 copies sold in three months.

Australia Day Ambassador for the Australia Day Council 1996 (Dumaresq Shire, New England NSW).

Contracted Sept 1997 to ABC Publishing to produce a second publication titled Bush Tucker Man - Tarnished Heroes which was released in November 1998. A total of 26,000 copies sold in three months.

Re-enlisted in the Australian Army Reserve (40 days per year), as from November 1997, for work with Aboriginal communities in Northern Australia. Attached to 5th Aviation Regiment, Townsville. This work involved Australian Army pilots being taught survival skills by Aboriginal people in northern Australia. The first of these training exercises took place at Aurukun, Cape York (Wik country) in October 1998. Army Reserve activity finished in 2001 upon reaching retirement age.

Australia Day Ambassador for the Australia Day Council 1999 (Guyra Shire Council, NSW).

Invited as a Visiting Fellow to Hatfield College, University of Durham, UK, in 1999. Title was immediately revised to Visiting Bloke while Professor Hiddins taught in the hallowed halls.

In August 1999, in conjunction with Penguin Books and ABC Publishing, published the book Explore Wild Australia with the Bush Tucker Man. A total of 160,000 copies so far sold.

In 2000, commenced writing a new series of four books designed specifically for children. In October 2000 Penguin Publishing released: The Coral Coast,The Top End, The Tropical Rainforest, and The Living Desert.

The new Australian National Museum in Canberra opens and includes a static display focused on Bush Tucker and the Bush Tucker Man. The display incorporates many items that were originally seen during the TV production including the original hat, revolver, snack maps, camera equipment, back pack, boots and a variety of camping equipment and HF radio set.

Produced with Penguin the book Bush Tucker Fieldguide April 2002.

August 2001 appointed an Ambassador for the "Year of the Outback".

In 2001 awarded the Cherry Keaton Medal by the Royal Geographic Society, London.

ANZAC Day 2001, principal motivation behind Project Pandanus, the war veterans’ retreat up in Cape York (featured on Australian Story ABC TV 7th Oct 2002). Pandanus Park is now being utilised by over 2,000 veterans per year as a recreational camping area - but without any form of permission or acceptance from the Queensland far.

October 2002 launched the Bush Tucker Man Wine Collection (Shiraz and a Chardonnay) in partnership with Chain of Ponds Winery in the Adelaide Hills. The Chardonnay was selected by Malaysian Airlines for in-flight catering as from April 2003.

November 2003, reprinted in soft cover a further 12,000 copies of the book Explore Wild Australia with the Bush Tucker Man.

July 2004 began a weekly column in the Townsville Bulletin newspaper (News Ltd). Column ceased publication approx May 2005.

Australia Day Ambassador for Tasmania January 21st 2005.

Australia Day Ambassador for Armidale NSW January 26th 2005.

Nominated in 2005 for "Australian of the Year 2006", Australia Day Council (Queensland division).

Apart from the above, ......................nothing!

Read New Tracks for the Bush Tucker Man