One year on and his legacy still lives
More than a year ago, my mother Margaret and I took the eight hour drive from Karratha to Broome to visit Malcolm Douglas and hand over our two and a half-year-old, hand-raised joey to Malcolm to care for her in an environment that little Milli would love.
We didn’t imagine that just a few short weeks later that we would never see Malcolm, or Milli again.
Malcolm Douglas was famous for his documentaries that showed the true Kimberley and Pilbara lifestyle and was often recognised as the Barefoot Bushman, rummaging through the rough outback terrain with not even a whimper.
He then established his Crocodile Park in Broome in 1983, holding around 4,000 crocodiles for conservation and farming.
Just over a year ago, Malcolm passed away at his Wilderness Park in a car accident early morning of September 23, 2010.
The last year has been a difficult one for the friends and family of Malcolm Douglas but that never stopped his legacy living on.
Malcolm’s wife, Valerie Douglas, said over the past year everyone has been working to finish all of Malcolm’s projects.
“He had so many projects going on, and he never had a chance to finish them all,” she said.
“His heart is in this wildlife park and he was so proud of his little bilbies and his newly developed bilby breeding program.
“Now, it has exploded, everything is doing extremely well.
“Mark James is the CEO, our son Lachlan is the financial advisor and Marshall Black is the manager of the Wilderness Park.
“Marshall has done some amazing things for the park, he brought it back to life, the landscape is beautiful and the breeding programs are doing exceptionally well.”
The crew still has a long way to go to ‘make sure all his dreams come true’.
“He wanted to educate the public and show people the unique animals in the outback,” Valerie said.
“He always wanted to show and teach people what they will see in the outback before they go out bush, so they are aware of dangerous and safe animals, so that is what we are aiming at doing.
“Malcolm was trying really hard for areas to be put on the heritage protection list, he would be so amazed now, a lot more of the Kimberley have been added, he would just be over the moon.”
Malcolm always had a way with animals; they just loved him, even commenting to Valerie sometimes that he ‘preferred animals to people’.
So even after passing away, the animals had to be with him, and within the next few weeks, three animals close to his heart passed away, including his dog Bundi 2, one of his kangaroos and my family’s little kangaroo Milli.
I look back at the last memories I have with Malcolm, driving around on the quad bikes after closing the Crocodile Park for night, playing tug-of-war with the crocs and Malcolm playing a practical joke on me with Fatso snapping his jaw next to my face.
“You look down,” Malcolm said to me.
After breaking down to Malcolm about ‘boy’ problems, he turned to me giving me one simple answer that I use every day of my life.
“Life is too short, no one has the right to make you feel miserable,” he said.
So live life the way Malcolm did, take each day as it comes – as he said ‘life is too short’.