Russell Coight, just back from an epic sojourn living off the land away from the limelight, has returned to share some lessons learned. For nigh on 15 years, he's eschewed the trappings of fame and celebrity to instead follow his yearnings to be at one with the bush.
After entering Aussie bush folklore via his 2001 educational, awe-inspiring bush-craft and survival skills TV series, Russell became disillusioned with the celebrity status imposed upon him and decided to flee to a simpler bush life.
Over the course of the two series he had become an instant, albeit reluctant, bush icon, managing to win fans while simultaneously destroying large swathes of protected bushland. His show, All Aussie Adventures, came to an end in 2002 after a court order prohibited Russell from coming within 500 metres of any marsupial.
But, as he told Camper recently, “the ride's not over. Not by a long shot”.
After 15 years wandering the Outback with nothing but a swag and a detuned squeezebox to entertain himself with, he's back. Fifteen years after setting fire to a national park, Russell Coight is back with brand-new episodes of All-Aussie Adventures.
“I'll be catching up with some old mates, sharing important survival tips and introducing viewers, now that the court order's run its course, to some of my favourite native species,” he told Camper.
“I'm an impassioned lover of wildlife and consider my animal encounters to be among the highlights of my televisual offerings, despite what the RSPCA say to the contrary”.
Camper was thrilled to put the following questions to the great man.
Camper: Firstly, welcome back Russell. It's such a thrill to speak with you. I'm sure I speak for all our readers when I say your unique perspective on bush craft has been missed. I know you're a busy man, but perhaps these few questions can elicit some of your wisdom. So, to start, basically, what is your preferred bush tucker?
Russell Coight: I used to be a basic meat-and-three-veg guy but in this new series we’ve taken the camp cooking up a notch. Wait ‘til you see my croquembouche damper.
Camper: What is your drink of choice after a long day in the outback?
Russell Coight: A nice cold beer always goes down well but over the years I’ve been forced to rely on plenty of emergency beverages. Rain water, radiator fluid, wild pig’s blood, my own urine. I draw the line at kombucha.
Camper: What's your preferred campfire instrument ?
Russell Coight: I’ve recently been experimenting with an electric didgeridoo (wired up to my car battery). Been working on what I call “Bush-Beat Poetry”. Could well be an album in it.
Camper: How would you entertain a lady friend in the great outdoors?
Russell Coight: I’m an old romantic so I guess our day would involve a few drinks round the campfire followed by a moonlit walk and then some pig shooting.
Camper: How does an outdoorsman upkeep his personal grooming?
Russell Coight: I don’t go in for too much “man-scaping” although I did recently release a new fragrance. Koight. It’s a sophisticated combination of eucalyptus and wattle, with base notes of diesel. Available at all good service stations
Camper: Lastly, Russell, and thanks again for taking time out to talk during your busy schedule — will you join us as a specialist guest 4WD driving skills judge at the upcoming Camper Trailer of the Year?
Russell Coight: Sometimes its dangerous to confer great skill upon those not ready. I'll have to take a look and see if your entrants are capable of absorbing the techniques I practice while behind the wheel of my rig. You never know. I'll have my people talk to your people.