About Steve Irwin

Larger than Life

CRIKEY! It is a word made famous by one man, the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin. A man who lived in his khakis and spent most of his time darting the bite of a venomous snake, wrestling a nine foot croc or anything else that was, well, simply out of the ordinary. He had an infectious personality that was saturated with enthusiasm and a love for life and wildlife alike.

Little would he know it, but his “out there” persona and “can do” attitude would have him stirring a crowd wherever he went. His wild antics started from a young age, and having parents that cared for wildlife, it’s no wonder Steve’s drive for life was fueled from wildlife.

As the host of the Crocodile Hunter, Steve wowed audiences by the millions. He crouched in scorching heat and sloshed in thick mud for one purpose: because he was committed to the survival of all wildlife and their environment. A cut cheek, grazed knee or sliced hand would not slow him down or prevent him from saving as many animals as possible. Especially the crocs, because as Steve said: “Crocs rule!”


building australia zoo

Bob and Lyn Irwin bought Australia Zoos original four acres of land in 1970. Bob was a very successful plumber from Melbourne who’d proudly built sheds and houses, so he easily turned his hand to building and designing the “Beerwah Reptile Park”. His foresight and innovation in captive care of Australian native animals was setting a new benchmark for wildlife welfare in Australia. All his energy was put into the Reptile Park – so for their first couple of years in their brand new life of exhibiting native fauna, they lived in this old caravan. Slowly but surely Bob built a shed, and then a house, which the family still live in to this day.

The Humble Beginnings

LIVING in a home housed with dangerous snakes, lizards, injured birds and orphaned kangaroos was the norm for the Irwin family. Steve’s Dad, Robert (Bob) Irwin was an enthusiastic man who paid the bills by working as a plumber, but, just like Steve, his passion was for wildlife and the environment.

Bob was a recognized herpetologist who had a love for lizards and venomous snakes and his Mum, Lyn cared for injured and orphaned animals. Steve used to say his Mum was the Mother Teresa of wildlife rehabilitation! There was not a room in their home that did not house a captured reptile or rescued animal. With their enthusiasm, love and passion for all wildlife, it was only natural for Steve to grow up following his parents’ footsteps.

Steve and his Dad would spend tones of action packed hours trekking through bush and scaling scrub for wildlife. Even back then, Steve and his naturalist parents were Australia’s first Wildlife Warriors!

In 1970, the family made a life changing decision to relocate to Beerwah on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, in Queensland. Little did they know it, but Bob’s dream of owning a reptile park would soon come true and be transformed into the spectacular Australia Zoo!

For three years, Bob and Steve poured in a stack of hard yakka to build the Coast’s first reptile park. In 1973, the gates of the Beerwah Reptile Park opened and featured crocs, lizards, snakes and many other animals the Irwin’s caught with their bare hands or rescued. Steve recalled those days as being the most marvelous.


building australia zoo

The Animal Planet Crocoseum was the fulfillment of one of Steve Irwin's lifelong dreams. Steve wanted to provide the visitors to Australia Zoo with the opportunity to see crocodiles in clear water ponds. This idea was to help educate the public by showing them how crocodiles live and behave in the wild.

Building Australia Zoo

IT may be hard to imagine now, but only four decades ago, Australia Zoo was nestled on just four acres. Smack bang in the middle of quiet Beerwah was the Beerwah Reptile Park built by Steve and his Dad, Bob. Little did they know it, but their small purpose-built park would one day become a leading zoological facility.

In 1973, the Beerwah Reptile Park opened and the single gated entrance welcomed visitors who traveled from near and far. From that day onwards, the park- a small family business- would become the Irwin’s lives.

The Irwin’s aimed to ensure the conservation of the many mammals and reptiles, especially Steve’s beloved crocs. Their goal was to strive for excellence and innovation and Steve led the way for conservation through exciting education, a stance still paramount through-out the zoo today.

Each day, the car park would overflow with cars as Mums, Dads their kids and friends wandered around the park in amazement. Just as it happened then, the zoo continues to wow visitors as they pour through one of the six booths that replaced the single gate.

Today Australia Zoo is still a true family business. Housed on 70 acres, it boasts lush gardens, native bush and spectacular enclosures.


steve's legacy

Steve's passion and enthusiasm for wildlife took him to many remote locations to help protect wildlife and the environment

Steve's Legacy

Steve’s life was a cocktail of love, passion, enthusiasm and respect which was poured down from his parents and soaked into his veins.

His excitement over the most deadly snake or tiniest lizard brought him to the forefront of animal conservation. He set the precedent for making sure fellow humans cared for and respected wildlife and the environment as much as he did.

He changed the world with his extreme conservation efforts and innovative ideas. He was a true blue Aussie bloke whose energy and passion shone through in all he did. Steve's legacy will live on forever. Through fellow Wildlife Warriors, wife Terri and children Bindi and Robert, his conservation work and larger than life personality will endure.


steve's legacy

Steve always put family first

Steve's Family

Terri and the kids meant the world to Steve. It all began in 1992 when Terri visited the Beerwah Reptile Park. In true Irwin style, their whirl-wind relationship was an action-packed adventure. On 24 July 1998, Steve and Terri became the proud parents of a little girl, Bindi Sue.

It was evident from the way he held and mentored Bindi, just how much he loved being a Dad. He saturated her with love and affection. She was a Daddy’s girl who worshipped the ground he walked on, just as Steve worshipped his Dad. But this Daddy’s girl would soon have to share him with a baby brother.

In 2003, the latest addition to the Irwin clan, Robert Clarence was welcomed into the world. Born on December 1, this little cutie has a contagious smile and tonnes of energy, just like his Dad.