Vale: Malcolm Douglas

By David Knox on September 23, 2010 / Filed Under News 12

Television adventurer and conservationist Malcolm Douglas has died in a car crash at his Broome wildlife park early today. He was 69.

He was reportedly killed after a four-wheel-drive vehicle crashed into a tree at about 6.30am in an area near the Douglas’s Wilderness Wildlife Park in Broome.

For more than 40 years, Douglas, also known as the “barefoot bushman” and the original “crocodile hunter”, trekked across the Australian Outback documenting his adventures through dozens of wildlife documentaries and television shows.

He was virtually an overnight success after his first wildlife show, Across The Top, was screened in 1976. He started making wildlife films in 1964.

“What you see is what you get,” he told Fairfax in 2009.

“I’m not fake and I don’t pre-plan takes, it’s all real. There’s no helicopter on standby if something goes wrong. In places like the Kimberley one mistake and you’re dead.’

“I was filming Aboriginal people killing kangaroos and drinking the blood because there wasn’t any water,” he said.

In an ABC interview, he spoke of his favourite crocodile, dubbed ‘Gamy leg’.

“He’s about 4.6 metres – he’s a large croc and he’d been attacked by a very big croc and I saved him with lots of steroids,” he recalled.

“Not to pump him up, but to get him eating again. And now he’s a very agressive croc. All he wants to do is just kill me – but I don’t mind that I just love him.”

His series, In The Bush With Malcolm Douglas, aired in 2009 on Seven to high ratings winning its timeslot 4 out of 6 weeks.

His Crocodile Park opened in 1983 to enormous success, with tourists from all over the world flocking to the park to see and feed his crocodiles.

Douglas was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2004 and told he had 18 months to live.

He is survived by his wife Valerie and two adult children.

UPDATE: Seven will screen the brand new documentary, The Wild and Dangerous Kimberley Coast, on Wednesday, September 29 at 9.30pm.

This was filmed last year, and is one of two remaining specials Douglas had finished for Seven.

Source:, ABC

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  1. Dylan September 24, 2010 at 8:05 am -

    After Sunrise was inundated with emails to move the doco to an earlier time for younger viewers, the doco will have an encore screening at the earlier time of 7:30 on Friday on 7TWO.

  2. farzy September 24, 2010 at 12:34 am -

    Australia lost a legend today…

  3. Nudge September 23, 2010 at 9:44 pm -

    One top bloke who said what he thought,and he thought the Kimberley gas plant at James Price Point was a bad idea.Very sad to know Malcolm will not be there to help fight the good / right fight.

  4. Craig Bee September 23, 2010 at 8:46 pm -


  5. mikeys September 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm -

    I have such fond memories of Malcolm’s shows from growing up. The shows were raw in their delivery, but gave a great overview of the Aussie outback without the usual TV-gloss.

    As one of my heroes, Malcolm will be sorely missed.

    RIP Malcolm.

  6. Ivan September 23, 2010 at 5:32 pm -

    RIP Malcolm

  7. Ell September 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm -

    Very sad. I grew up watching his documentaries and it was clear that this was a man that truly loved what he did. RIP

  8. Trix September 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm -

    Very sad to lose this wonderful man.

  9. steven guy September 23, 2010 at 3:31 pm -

    bugger !

  10. David Sidwell September 23, 2010 at 2:09 pm -

    Very sad news. I have watched and enjoyed his documentaries for years. Condolences to friends and family.

  11. Allie September 23, 2010 at 1:57 pm -

    A sad loss – I used to love his documentaries, they were very entertaining. RIP Malcolm and condolences to his family.

  12. merlin September 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm -

    This is very shocking news, he was great to watch, had some great documentaries.


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