Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin
“Since I was a boy, from this house, I was out rescuing crocodiles and snakes. My mum and dad were very passionate about that, and I was lucky enough to go along.”
— Steve Irwin “Crocodile Hunter”
Sometimes a father’s love is felt most keenly in the legacy he leaves behind. That is certainly the case for the unbreakable bond between Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin and his daughter, Bindi.
Steve Irwin was killed in September 2006 by a stingray’s spine while filming a documentary on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. To pay tribute to the Crocodile Hunter, Bindi read a letter that she had written herself in front of a worldwide television audience.
A Hero to People and Animals
“My daddy was my hero—he was always there for me when I needed him,” Bindi read. “We filmed together, caught crocodiles together and loved being in the bush together. I don’t want daddy’s passion to ever end. I have the best daddy in the world, and I will miss him every day. Daddy made this place his whole life, and now it’s our turn to help.”
Bob Irwin, Steve’s father, also chose to celebrate his son’s life and gave perspective on the tragedy. “Please do not grieve for Steve,” Bob said. “He’s at peace now. Grieve for the animals. They have lost the best friend they ever had, and so have I.”
A Father’s Legacy
Even before his death, Steve had long been acquainted with danger. “I have no fear of losing my life,” he admitted. Indeed, this was always possible in his profession. “If I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it.”
As much as his death was a loss for the millions who knew and admired him from television, the greater tragedy was for the family he left behind: an infant son, wife Terri, and 8-year-old daughter Bindi. Bindi’s eulogy was a touching tribute not only to her loss but a testament to the lasting influence that a father has on a daughter. In the weeks following, she filled the void left by her father’s death, announcing that she would host her own nature program. In 2007, Bindi the Jungle Girl debuted. The show ran for 31 episodes before ending a year later.
Acting came naturally to Bindi, but the opportunity to preserve her father’s legacy made the decision to pursue a life in conservation even easier.
“I really want to carry on his footsteps, and that’s why filming my first movie was so much fun,” she said of being cast in the 2010 film Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove.
“I really hope that this movie gets a great conservation message across to all kids,” she said. “You know, it was fun also playing [the film’s young heroine] Kirra Cooper . . . because she’s trying to save this orca, and actually in real life, I’m trying to save a place called the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve.”
Today, Bindi is 20 years old, and she is still incredibly passionate about saving animals. She has also gotten into acting, singing, and dancing. She was recently a guest judge on the 16th season of Dancing with the Stars in Australia. Bindi donates 10% of her wages to Wildlife Warriors, a charity founded by her family back in 2002.
Not only does Bindi do her part to help preserve wildlife, but her brother Robert Irwin (age 15) has also grown to follow in his father’s footsteps. He hosts a TV show called Robert’s Real Life Adventures as well as staring on an Animal Planet series, Crikey! It’s the Irwins, alongside his mother and sister. He has also appeared on many other shows and movies, and he co-authored a series of books titled Dinosaur Hunter. Robert is extremely passionate about nature photography and plans to continue pursuing that passion.
Steve Irwin would have been more than proud of both his daughter and son and their passion for carrying on his life’s work. Steve lived his dash to the fullest and left a legacy that even his tragic death couldn’t tarnish. Nothing would have put a bigger smile on the eco-warrior’s face than seeing his children follow in his footsteps.
How are you Living Your Dash?
Take a minute to think about your Dash and the legacy you are leaving. As the poem says, “What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.”