Saying goodbye to Harry Butler 261



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Australia lost one of the good guys on Friday with the farewell of West Australian conservationist Harry Butler who passed away from cancer at the age of 85.  And we can solemnly say we have lost a voice of the outback that many will remember for a long time.

Harry was the 1979 Australian of the Year, but more than that, he was added to the list of Australia’s Living Treasures in 2012 when he was presented with an Order of Australia Medal.

We all remember his calm, nature loving voice from TV, and many of us have a story to tell about the many things he taught us about conservation.


He died in Perth with his family beside him and is sadly missed by his son who spoke to the media of his death which he said was painful and unkind through his two years of suffering.

“I’m still in shock even though he’s been ill, he’s a real fighter and has three times defied the doctors’ predictions,” Mr Butler said to the ABC.

Mr Butler said his father was a “remarkable man by anyone’s standards”.  “The fact he was my dad made it special for me but he was a remarkable man in many, many ways.”.

“The cancer got him eventually but he told me last week when he was ready to go he was just going to go and that’s basically just what he did yesterday. So he went peacefully and quickly but had quite a struggle before that.

“He had been ill for nearly two years but amazingly up until three months ago he was still messing around on the farm and driving a tractor and chopping wood.

How do you remember Harry Butler? We’ve got some videos of him below.  Share your memories today.  



Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. I met him in about 1972 his son Trevor was going out with a freind of mine, he was a great person and lived in Wanneroo north of Perth for many years

  2. Sad sad news. Rest in peace. You were that wonderful AUSSIE voice I watched and learnt so much about this wonderful country. Now you can compare notes with Steve , our great ambassadors on wildlife and conservation .🙏😪

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