Kangaroo Island locals who lived through the summer bushfires got to chat to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in an online conference earlier this month.
William and Kate had been slated to visit Kangaroo Island after the Australia's devastating summer of bushfires but the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled that trip.
The conference was organised by the Governor General's office in Canberra and kept quiet until the Royals released the footage, including some on their @kensingtonroyal Instagram page.
Dana Mitchell at the KI Wildlife Park, Kingscote CFS brigade captain Mick Swayne, honey producer Peter Davis and farmer Steph Wurst each had a 5-minute conversation with William and Kate.
Ms Mitchell showed off Grace the koala, a recent arrival being cared for at their wildlife recovery centre at Parndana.
The Royals were shocked to hear the Island's koala population had decreased from 60 to 80,000 to an estimated 5 to10,000 since the fires.
Koalas are not native to KI but were introduced in the last century and have bred up in huge numbers in the Island's bluegum plantations, 90 per cent of which burned in the fires, and bushland.
William and Kate got to hear about the massive stock and property losses experienced by the Island's farmers from Steph Wurst at Parndana.
Brigadier Damien Cantwell AM, part of the Australian Army's Operation Bushfire Assist, spoke about his time on the Island and how it had been "a huge team effort".
Volunteer firefighter Peter Davis said,"I've been a volunteer firefighter for more than 50 years, I have never seen anything like this and never want to see it again."
Mick Swane told The Islander who enjoyed his conversation with the Royals and that they were very easy to talk to.
He joked that went he was first contacted by the GG's office about the online conference, he thought it was a hoax.
He and the others were sworn to secrecy about the online conference that took place on the evening of Friday, September 25.
"I spoke about how it was a team effort and how the Island worked together," he said. "I also spoke about how bad the weather was that three or four days."
Mr Swayne while speaking to the Royals credited his "beautiful" wife Evelyn for being a great help during the fires and she proudly posted about his conversation.
"So proud of my husband who is so passionate and committed as a CFS volunteer/captain and who is very humble in his tireless actions behind the scenes," she wrote.
"Such a proud moment for him to be thanked personally for his efforts and to pass on thanks to the whole CFS family and Kangaroo Island community for what was a summer we would all rather forget."
The Royals Instagram post read as follows: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge heard from local business owners and first responders from Kangaroo Island a small community off the south of Australia, who were impacted by devastating bushfires earlier this year.
"Not only have they had to rebuild their lives from the wildfires, but they also had to manage to the spread of COVID-19, which has hugely impacted their desire get back to a normal life.
"The bushfires caused significant damage to residents' homes, livelihoods, along with thousands of animals and their habitats."