One of the Australian Army’s most famous vehicles, the Land Rover 110 4x4 used by former Major Les Hiddins, AM, in the first Bush Tucker Man television series in 1987, has retired after 26 years of service.
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon and the now retired Major Hiddins, presented the vehicle to the Darwin Military Museum, handing over the keys at a ceremony in Darwin.
Mr Snowdon said there were three co-stars in the Bush Tucker Man series – Les Hiddins, his hat and his Land Rover.
Les Hiddins was the Army’s expert in survival techniques and had already spent several years researching bush tucker before starring in the ABC television series.
The Land Rover vehicle use in the first Bush Tucker Man series – Army Registration Number 48 001 – made its first appearance in Episode One of the first series, in which it was filled up with fuel at the Borroloola Inn before heading north to the Roper River.
“Les was supported in the Bush Tucker Man series by the North West Mobile Force (NORFORCE), the Darwin-based Army unit, which continued to use this particular Land Rover in the years following its brush with fame,” Mr Snowdon said.
For much of that time, the Land Rover served as a basic reconnaissance vehicle for NORFORCE or has been used during exercises to transport stores or troops. It has also been put into service regularly as a range safety vehicle.
“As well as the vehicle’s cultural significance, it also happens to be the very first of some 2,500 Land Rover 4WDs that were delivered to the Army between 1987 and 1990 as part of Project Perentie,” Mr Snowdon said.
The Army is in the process of replacing its current fleet of Land Rovers with the Mercedes-Benz G Wagons.
Imagery of the Land Rover is available at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20130646
Marcus Butler (Minister Snowdon) 02 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999