Home \ Tributes - Steve Robert Irwin

Born February 22, 1962
Died September 04, 2006


Ministerial Statement

Mr MORRIS IEMMA (Lakemba—Premier, Minister for State Development, and Minister for Citizenship) [2.15 p.m.]: Like all honourable members, I was stunned to hear of Steve Irwin's death yesterday, not just the raw fact of his passing, which was shocking at his age no matter what the cause, but also the fact that he died in such unbelievable circumstances. This was the death of an adventurer, a man who refused to live by half measures and who in the end really did prove to be larger than life. He represented the best of Australia: sunny, bold, optimistic, carefree and with the odd touch of mayhem. But the larrikin façade belied something unexpected: a lifelong conservationist profoundly devoted to the harsh majesty of the Australian landscape and the weird and wonderful animals of our continent. He showed us how to find goodness everywhere, even in the strange and deadly creatures we had all been taught to shun and fear.

Share this Tribute

Your Name:

Your Email:

Friend's Name:

Friend's Email:


Enter the code shown:


Contribute to this Tribute

Your Name:

Your Email:


Enter the code shown:


Steve Robert Irwin

Stephen Robert Irwin was born to Lyn and Bob Irwin in Victoria in February 1962. Bob Irwin was a keen enthusiast of reptiles and moved his family to Queensland in 1970 to start a small reptile park at Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast. Australia Zoo became a true family business, flourishing until 1991 when Bob & Lyn retired, turning over management to their son, Steve.

Living in the Zoo, Steve grew up with animals of all kinds, taking part in the animals daily feeding, care and maintenance. His 6th birthday present was what he had always wanted – his very own scrub python! It was 3.6m (12ft) long and while most other children were opening cans of pet food for their cats or dogs, Steve was out catching fish and hunting rodents to feed to his crocodiles and snakes.

Bob taught the young Steve everything there was to know about reptiles – even teaching his nine-year-old how to jump in and catch crocodiles in the rivers of North Queensland at night. This father and son’s proud boast is that every crocodile in their Zoo (the numbering some 100 animals) was either caught by their bare hands or bred and raised in their Zoo.

As he grew older Steve followed in his father’s footsteps and volunteered his services to the Queensland Governments East Coast Crocodile Management program which saw him spend years living on his own in the mosquito infested creeks, rivers and mangroves of North Queensland catching huge crocodiles single-handed. His record of successful catches is still staggering to this day.

Since 1991, Australia Zoo has flourished and expanded under Steve’s guidance. In 1990 a chance reunion with his friend, television producer John Stainton, filming in the Zoo for a TV commercial, gave Steve the opportunity to show his diverse animal talents to the world when they both took a punt and make the first documentary, "The Crocodile Hunter" in 1992.

The tremendous success of this one program quickly encouraged the making of more and so over the next 3 years, 10 one hour episodes were made and on television screens all over the world. Steve has now filmed over 70 episodes of "The Crocodile Hunter", 53 episodes of "Croc Files", 43 episodes of “Croc Diaries” and his next television series is called “The New Breed Vets” for release in 2005.

Steve has the greatest respect and understanding for all animals – something that has been instilled into him by his family for all of his life – and he's proud to share his passion with everyone who visits his Zoo and with his five hundred million viewers world-wide.

On 4 September 2006, Steve was fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray spine while snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, at Batt Reef, which is located off the coast of Port Douglas in Queensland. Irwin was in the area filming his own documentary, Ocean's Deadliest.



22 February, 1962: Born

Steve Irwin is born in Melbourne Victoria to mother Lyn and reptile enthusiast dad Bob Irwin.

22 February, 1968: First Snake

Steve receives a scub python snake for his sixth birthday.

01 January, 1970: Family starts reptile park

Steve's dad Bob moves his family to the Sunshine coast, Queensland to start a small reptile park

01 January, 1991: Steve takes over Zoo

Bob and Lyn retire and Steve takes over management of Australia Zoo

01 January, 1992: Crocodile Hunter

A one-off documentary called The Crocodile Hunter gets Irwin on television for the first time

04 June, 1992: Marries Terri

He marries American Terri Raines, whom he met a few months earlier while she was visiting his zoo

24 July, 1998: First Child

Steve and Terri have their first child, Bindi Sue

12 July, 2002: Makes a Movie

Irwin stars in his own feature film The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course.

02 October, 2003: Prime Minister praises

Prime Minister John Howard visits the zoo and Irwin praises him as "the greatest leader Australia has ever had"

01 December, 2003: Second Child

Second child, Robert (Bob) Clarence Irwin, is born

01 January, 2006: Australian tourism

Irwin becomes the face of an Australian tourism campaign in the US

04 September, 2006: Steve Dies

Irwin dies off the coast of Queensland after being struck in the chest by a stingray barb while filming a documentary