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Tributes flow for Steve Irwin

Presenter: Richard Fidler

photo of Steve Irwin

Steve Irwin appears on Enough Rope

South East Queenslanders were united in grief this afternoon as news broke that naturalist and television star Steve Irwin had been killed in a diving accident in Far North Queensland.

Callers swamped 612 ABC Brisbane with tributes and memories of the energetic, passionate man who was known as 'the crocodile hunter'.

Relationships Australia's Sherry Wright commented that it's natural for people to feel grief, even though they may have never met Irwin. "When you’re a public person, people see you a lot, you’re on the TV, and people expect to see you forever, and then you’re not there, and when you look at the circumstances, it just impacts on everybody. Most people held him in such regard because he really was a very passionate person, who worked in the area and did what he talked about...

"Because he was such an ‘out-there' person, with so much life and energy, it’s even a double blow that he won’t be here anymore," she continued.

Listeners were deeply shocked by the news of Irwin's death. "I feel absolutely devastated because I actually feel – and I haven’t felt this for a long time – the same way I felt when Princess Diana had been killed," said Roz.

"It’s really, really gutwrenching. And even though I didn’t know him personally, he was a TV presenter, he’s done so much with that park – I remember going there when his dad was running it and I was 15 and I’m 47 now, and he’s done some great things with the environment – he’s just one of those people who was so passionate... I think everyone’s going to feel it really bad."

John from Yeronga agreed. "I’m devastated – I still can’t believe it. I met him a few times, I think he was a great person, a great Queenslander... His heart was exactly where he said it was."

"He was the sort of man I think every child would want for a dad and he was an icon," commented Lesley from Coochiemudlo Island. "He just loved nature... it’s unbelievable... He was an 'out-there' sort of a person, but he has left his mark on this earth, and not a lot of us do that and we’ll always remember him. It makes us question our own immortality."

Anna from Tweed Heads talked about her pounding heart. "I’m bloody speechless," she said. "My heart, my chest is thumping, I was just about to go out and post some letters and my legs don’t want me to... It’s something that you comprehend, but you just sit here and shake your head. This man was a world-renowned person, this man had a heart of gold, this man was a larrikin... I didn’t even know him, but that’s the incredible thing, I guess – this is the legacy he will have left behind."

David from Greenbank first came across Irwin overseas. "It’s funny – when I first saw Steve Irwin, he was promoting Australia overseas and he was at a really dressed-up function in his shorts and his boots and I thought, what a yokel! What will people think of Australians?

"But then I got to see more of him and see what he was about and I think he was so absolutely passionate and delightful. He was a very clean-living person and his values were great values. Quite seriously, I went from one end of the spectrum to the other – I think that if all Australians felt as passionate about Australia and their jobs as he did, we wouldn’t have any problems."

Hearing the news about Irwin made Chris from Toowoomba think about his own family. "I’m a dad about the same age, with a young family like Steve," he said. "When I heard the news on the radio, I just had to ring my wife actually, because it hits home at your own mortality, I think... even though you don’t know the guys you still feel very much. There’s a feeling of grief, I think."

Sherry Wright agreed. "When you go home tonight, you’ll be hugging everyone a little bit tighter because it sort of reminds you of what you have and what you love and what he has now lost."

Please use our contact form to email us tributes to Steve, if you would like them read on air, or alternatively, leave your message on the feedback line: 3223 0612.


Last Updated: 4/09/2006 3:47:00 PM AEST

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