Australian Screen

Australia’s audiovisual heritage online

In the Wild with Harry Butler (1976 - 1981)

Nature documentary series
26 episodes x 30 minutes

Series synopsis:

Four series made for prime time television in which presenter Harry Butler introduces ABC audiences to the outback flora and fauna of Australia.

Curator’s Notes:

Harry Butler first came to the notice of ABC producers when he was hired as a jack-of-all-trades to assist fellow Western Australian and naturalist Vincent Serventy, who was involved with Rolf Harris in the series Rolf’s Walkabout (1970). Not only could Harry prepare wonders of culinary delight with his camp oven, he had a real understanding of bush creatures. A proposed BBC-ABC series with David Bellamy and Harry Butler foundered so the ABC decided to go it alone with In the Wild with Harry Butler. The series took off and the succeeding series did even better than the first. There was also a book of the series.

Later on, Harry Butler became a champion of the Franklin River Dam. Amidst huge controversy, the British botanist David Bellamy was invited to present a report and his damning opposition to the project overturned Butler’s findings and helped stop the dam. As a result, Harry Butler lost some of his credibility as an environmentalist.

Titles in this series

In the Wild with Harry Butler – Lake Argyle 1976

Harry Butler is a native of Western Australia. He has returned there to explain how this massive man-made body of water, now called Lake Argyle, has changed the Ord River and the ecology of the Kimberley region forever.

In the Wild with Harry Butler – Scars on the Landscape 1976

Naturalist Harry Butler is in northern Queensland, where millennia of fire stick farming by Indigenous Australians has created the grasslands of that region.