Leslie Hiddins has lived many lives.
He has crawled through the jungles of Vietnam as an Australian Army soldier.
He's been a father and a husband.
He has penned eight books.
Traced the death site of explorer Edmund Kennedy.
And traversed some of the most remote areas of the north during the filming of his beloved iconic Australian TV Series, "The Bush Tucker Man."
Growing up in Cairns and later Brisbane in Queensland, Major Leslie Hiddins, fondly known to Australian audiences as "The Bush Tucker Man", was a soldier with the Australian Army, who did two deployments in South Vietnam between 1966 and 1968.
"I joined the Australian Army as a private soldier in Infantry," Mr Hiddins said.
"I was later tasked by the ADF to catalogue all the edible plants in far North Queensland, working with Aboriginal people from the area.
"At that time, only Aboriginal people and a few others around Australia had recorded some of the bush foods in use in certain communities."
In 1977, Mr Hiddins was awarded a Defence Fellowship to research survival in northern Australia.
Throughout this time, he principally authored the Australian Army's military survival manual, released in 1988, and was also awarded membership of the Order of Australia for his research in the same year.
But it was the filming of his iconic ABC series, "The Bush Tucker Man," based entirely off his body of research, that catapulted him to national acclaim (alongside his trademark Akubra hat, which audiences have never seen him without).
"The Defence PR team had a little film crew and they wanted to make a documentary about the research I was doing in the field," Mr Hiddins said.
"They came and made it, and then they took it back to the ABC who said, 'we could do with a bit more like that,' so they and the ABC joined hands, and we made the first series of The Bush Tucker Man."
The first episode aired in January 1988, and for three seasons, Australian audiences followed along from their livings rooms as Mr Hiddins explored the most remote parts of northern Australia.
"I'd go into the field with 12 'gee whizz moments' and key points to make it interesting," he said, when asked about how he planned his episodes.
"Not all of them would hold up, but I knew that way I could make sure that the half an hour was very interesting for people.
"It was all good fun."
Whilst the TV series ended in 1996, Mr Hiddins continued to communicate his findings, writing a total of eight books, including four children's books.
He retired from the Australian Army in 1989 with the rank of Major but continued to serve with the reserve until 2001 before receiving his Honorary Doctorate of Science by James Cook University in 2008.
It's now been thirty-five years since the first season aired, and there is no doubt that Mr Hiddins has greatly contributed to the population's knowledge of Australian history and life in the bush.
But despite being in retirement, he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down.
In 2017, he gave a culinary crash course for survival in the jungle to soldiers and marines participating in Exercise Kowari, before proceeding to launch his subscription-based website in 2019 which features a comprehensive digital database of his research.
"On the website, people can search a location or season to discover the types of flora and fauna they can expect to find in that region," he said.
"In the meantime, I have been rephotographing everything because we couldn't still use the original slides on the website.
"[My wife] Sandy and I really took it upon ourselves to start rephotographing stuff in central Australia, top end as well as Arnhem land and the Gulf."
IN OTHER NEWS:
Mr Hiddins is now awaiting the arrival of the couple's new 4WD, which will enable him to continue his passions for the Australian bush and its food resources, while also pursuing his interest in the Dutch exploration of Australia.
His original Land Rover 4WD is on display at the Darwin Military Museum.
As for his iconic Akubra hat? Well, that now lives in the National Museum in Canberra alongside some of Mr Hiddins original bush gear.
"I don't think you ever retire from this kind of stuff. There's always a little something going on," Mr Hiddins said.
"I'm always getting tapped on the shoulder to do something.
"We've done some filming with the BBC and also Landline over the years, and I'm doing more work on the Dutch colonies, so I'm looking forward to being able to do more research on that.
"There is certainly more to come."