Honorary Senior Fellow (April 2000)
Steve Irwin was named an Honorary Senior Fellow in April 2000 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to ecotourism and environmental education.
Mr Steve Irwin (1962-2006) would be known to many people as the person on television that regularly put his life on the line with crocodiles. But there is much more to the man. His contribution to ecotourism, environmental education, and raising the visibility of the Sunshine Coast internationally is unmatched. Mr Irwin's father opened a small reptile park as a family business at Beerwah in 1970. Steve grew up amongst animals of all kinds and was given a carpet python for his 5th birthday. Even as a 9-year-old, he was learning to catch crocodiles in the rivers of North Queensland at night. The father and son combination caught every one of their crocodiles with their bare hands and raised them with great care in their Park, now 'Australia Zoo'. Steve also caught a huge number of rogue crocodiles in North Queensland to have them relocated as they were a threat to human life, but the crocodiles remained unharmed. In 1992, the first 'Crocodile Hunter' documentary was shown on television, and led to the huge success of the program, and to Steve becoming a cult figure in some parts of the world. Underpinning all his work, Steve had the greatest respect and understanding for all animals and his programs educate an audience estimated at 300 million viewers worldwide. He spent his life educating people everywhere to care for all our world's wildlife. He was an outstanding conservationist within, and worked directly for, the Sunshine Coast.