His father Bob was a plumber and his mother Lynn a maternity nurse,
but even back then the family consuming passion was the rescue and
rehabilitation of the local wildlife, with Bob being a reptile enthusiast. In
1970 the Irwin family moved from Essendon to Beerwah in Queensland and opened
the Beerwah Reptile Park (now called ‘Australia Zoo’).
The young Irwin shared his parents passion with wildlife. On snake catching
trips, the young Irwin would walk in the mud footprints of his father, following
his every move. On his 6th birthday he was given a scrub python and began
handling crocodiles at the age of nine, By the age of 12 he was hurling himself
on the back of crocodiles.
In the 1980s Irwin left the family nest to find himself in Queensland
wilderness. He was to stay for 5 years, conversing with his dog, working in a
dream job, trapping saltwater crocodiles, in areas considered a danger to
tourist. It was a job he did for free, having struck a deal with the local
authorities that every croc he captured, he would send back to the family
reptile park in Beerwah.
He became a crocodile
trapper, removing crocodiles that had moved into populated areas, performing the
service for free, in exchange for keeping them for the park. Steve was also to
follow in his father’s footsteps, becoming a volunteer for the Queensland
Government’s East Coast Crocodile Management program.
Steve took over the management of the park in 1991 and in 1992 met his future
wife Terri Raines at the park. For their honeymoon they went
crocodile-trapping and footage of the honeymoon became the first episode of ‘The
Crocodile Hunter’ series, a series so successful, it has aired in 120 countries
around the world.
Steve Irwin met a tragic death just after 11 am, on the 4 September 2006,
when a stingray barb pierced his heart as he was filming off the coast of
Port Douglas in Queensland, Australia. He was in the area filming a documentary
called ‘The Ocean’s Deadliest’. However due to inclement weather, he decided to
shoot some footage for a series featuring his young daughter Bindi.
Snorkelling in the shallows off Batt Reef, the water was alive with
stingrays, some of them as large as two metres across. It was during the dive as
Irwin swam over the top of the ray that the barb of the ray struck Irwin,
entering his chest and piercing his heart.
- Father: Bob Irwin
- Mother: Lyn (died 2002 in a car accident)
- Wife: Terri Irwin (married 4 June 1992)
- Daughter: Bindi Sue Irwin (born 24 July 1998)
- Son: Robert Bob Clarence Irwin (born 1 December 2003)
- Crocodile Hunter - the first one hour documentary was broadcast in 1992,
with over 50 episodes being made.
- Hunter: Spitting Cobras of the World (2000)
- Crocodile Hunter: Crocodiles of the Revolution (2000)
- Dr Dolittle 2 (2001) - Steve Irwin appeared in a brief cameo.
- The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (2002)