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Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Page: 170


Ms PARKE (1:54 PM) —Today, I wish to pay tribute to a man who lived life on the edge, and who gave his all to protect and nurture Australian wildlife.

Last Thursday, 23 September, the man known as the Barefoot Bushman, Malcolm Douglas, died in a terrible accident at his wildlife park, 16 kilometres from Broome. Since then, words of praise, admiration and grief have flooded in from around the country to honour a man who is credited with being one of the finest wildlife conservationists in Australia and a pioneer of the Australian adventure documentary.

Mr Douglas first came to prominence with his nature documentaries in the 1960s that covered his adventures in the Australian outback. He brought the Australian public a new view on the environment and the Indigenous way of life that people in the cities knew very little about. In the later decades of his life, Mr Douglas was committed to preserving native species, such as the critically endangered greater bilby. He was also an outspoken opponent of industrialisation of the Kimberley and had joined the Save the Kimberley campaign to have the region granted World Heritage status.

In a tribute to his father, Mr Douglas’s son Lachlan wrote:

A giant died 36 hours ago and a piece of Australia and the bush died with him. If I had to describe my father in a single word it would be ‘authentic’. What you saw is what you got. He was the toughest and bravest man you’d ever meet. He was one of the last true adventurers. He did not seek celebrity status and wanted to use his profile to further the causes he believed in. If his spirit was whispering to me now he would be saying ‘tell them to donate to the save the Bilby foundation’.