Crikey! Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin wowed audiences by the millions!
Stephen Robert Irwin was born on February 22, 1962, in Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria. His parents moved their family to Beerwah, Queensland, and opened the ‘Beerwah Reptile Park’ in 1970.
Steve grew up loving all wildlife, especially reptiles. He caught his first venomous snake (a common brown) at the tender age of six and would often arrive late to school after convincing his mother to pull over so he could rescue a lizard off the road.
By the time he was nine-years-old, Steve was helping catch small problem crocodiles, hanging around boat ramps, by jumping on them in the water and wrestling them back into the dinghy. He always had an uncanny sixth sense when it came to wildlife and spent his life honing that skill.
By 1980, the wildlife park was re-named the ‘Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park’. This was Steve’s home and the place he loved the most. Here he worked countless hours with his best mate, Wes Mannion, caring for the wildlife and maintaining the grounds.
As Steve’s love for crocodiles grew, he spent months on end living in the most remote areas of far north Queensland catching problem crocodiles for the Queensland Government. He did all this with the company of his little dog, Sui. Steve developed crocodile capture and management techniques that are now utilised with crocodilians around the world.
Steve took over managing the park on October 4, 1991. Two days later, he met Terri Raines, a visiting tourist. On June 4, 1992, they were married in Eugene, Oregon.
Instead of a honeymoon, the couple embarked on filming a wildlife documentary while relocating a problem crocodile in far north Queensland. The show was so successful that it turned into a series and The Crocodile Hunter was born. The TV series became an internationally broadcast wildlife documentary hit, which Steve hosted with wife, Terri. Steve and Terri worked tirelessly to improve and expand the wildlife park. Re-naming it ‘Australia Zoo’ in 1998, their vision for the world’s best zoo was coming to fruition. Steve’s message of “Conservation Through Exciting Education” is achieved everyday within the zoo.
Steve treasured every opportunity to share his love for wildlife with his children, Bindi and Robert. He instilled in them the need to treat every living being with kindness. Steve was incredibly proud of his children and often said if he was to be remembered for anything, he hoped that it was for being a good dad.
In July 2006, Steve and Terri set out a ten-year business plan for their beloved zoo. Tragically, Steve passed two months later. His passionate family continue to strive to achieve all of the goals Steve hoped to attain.
- Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Recipient of Queensland Greats Award
- Honoured with naming of new species of land snail Crikey steveirwini
- Inducted into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame
- 135,000-hectare (334,000-acre) national reserve established on Cape York – Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve
- Awarded Honorary Professorship by The University of Queensland’s School of Integrative Biology
- Recognised as “Tourism Export of the Year”
- Australian of the Year nominee
- Lead role in The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
- Established conservation charity Wildlife Warriors
- Awarded the Australian Government Centenary Medal for “service to global conservation and Australian tourism”
- Discovered new turtle species, named Irwin’s turtle (Elseya irwini)
- Started filming documentary series The Crocodile Hunter