Les Hiddins’ curriculum vitae
Born Brisbane Qld. 13 Aug 1946. Childhood spent in Cairns and Brisbane.
Two adult children. Daughter Zoe, who is a marine science teacher in Townsville, and Tim, who was an Army Blackhawk pilot but now employed by Army as a Dentist. after graduating from. James Cook University, Cairns.
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, and the Intelligence Section.
Commissioned with the rank of 2Lt. in 1971.
Corps transferred from Infantry to Army Aviation Corps. in 1974.
Led the Pudding Pan Hill expedition in search of explorer Edmund Kennedy’s death site, (Cape York Peninsular) in 1975 (see ABC TV, Big Country, “Camp 84”).
Commenced private self-funded research into Bush Foods in 1977.
Researched and led an expedition retracing the journals of explorer Christie Palmerston in the North Queensland rainforest’s, 1979. (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 past 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, Queens Birthday honours list, 1987 for work carried out in the Australian Army.
Commenced work on the joint ABC TV / Dept. of Defence television production “Bush Tucker Man“, July 1987, completing production May 1988.
Retired from the Australian Regular Army, March 1989, with the rank of Major.
Commenced filming the second series of “Bush Tucker Man“, ABC TV Jan 1990. Production completed Nov. 1990.
Awarded the Thompson Foundation Medal, by the Royal Geographic Society, (Qld) May 1991. (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.
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 (Armidale, New England 1995)
In 1995 commenced filming the third ABC TV series Bush Tucker Man – Stories of Survival, an eight part historical series, which went to air in 1996.
Commenced publishing facsimile reproductions of Australian explorers journals as part of a publishing series in mid 1996. The first publication 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 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 ( Dumaresq Shire, New England for 1996).
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 involves 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 when upon reaching retirement age
Australia Day Ambassador on behalf of the Australia Day Council, to the Guyra Shire Council in 1999.
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 (Penguin Publishing) designed specifically for children, …released in October 2000. 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 focussed 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.
2000 was invited as a Visiting Fellow by Hatfield College, Durham University, UK.
Produced with Penguin the book Bush Tucker Fieldguide April 2002, over 20,000 sold so far.
Aug 2001, appointed an Ambassador for the A Year of the Outback
In 2001, awarded the Cherry Keaton Medal by the Royal Geographic Society, London.
Principal motivation behind the Pandanus Project, (ANZAC Day 2001) the war veterans retreat up in Cape York featured on Australian Story ABC TV 7th Oct 2002. This retreat is now being utilised by over 2,000 veterans per year as a recreational camping area.
November 2003, reprint in soft cover a further 12,000 copies of the book Explore Wild Australia.
Australia Day Ambassador for Tasmania Jan 21 2005
Australia Day Ambassador for Armidale NSW Jan 26 2005
Nominated in 2005, 06, 07, 09 for Australian of the Year” Australia Day Council (Queensland Division)
March 2008 awarded the degree of Honorary Doctor of Science, by James Cook University, Townsville.
June 2009, BBC TV films Ray Mears with Les Hiddins in Northern Australia for the series, Ray Goes Walkabout
2015 May 19 -30th …invited to speak in the UK, (Derbyshire) at the annual Bushcraft show, as Guest of Honour for the 2015 Show
2019 saw the launch of the BushTucker Man Fieldguide on the Web… bushtuckerman.com.au
Apart from the above, ………………….nothing!