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CRIKEY! 6000 PEOPLE REMEMBER A LEGEND
News Source: Sunshine Coast Daily (20th November 2007)
by Sam Benger
Click image to enlarge

IT started with the unveiling of a bronze statue of the Irwin family, including Steve's dog, Sui, and a saltwater crocodile the family caught while on their last holiday in North Queensland before his death.

It was just what the iconic Croc Hunter would have wanted on a day that was dedicated to celebrating his life and his great passion for his family and for wildlife.

More than 6000 people flooded into Australia Zoo, many dressed in khaki in memory of Steve's uniform, for the first ever Steve Irwin Day.

The sun was out and visitors from all over the world, including Canada, the USA, UK and Japan, packed into the crocoseum where Terri and Bindi Irwin welcomed the crowds and spoke of their passion for wildlife and their desire to continue Steve's legacy by teaching people about conservation.

School children clapped and sang along to great Aussie anthems like "A Home Among the Gum Trees" and "True Blue" as babies dressed in khaki clutched plush crocodiles in their mothers' laps, and young people draped themselves in the Australian flag with faces painted green and gold or red white and blue.

The mood was bright when Terri, Bindi and zoo director Wes Mannion came on stage and a roar went up from the crowd. Bindi then launched two new songs, including one dedicated to her dad, in which she talked about catching snakes, jumping on crocs and chasing lizards with her dad.

Olivia Newton-John made a guest appearance as part of the celebrations, singing "We are Magic" and "I Honestly Love You" as well as a special Christmas song, "A mother's Christmas wish", which she dedicated to Terri.

She said it was important to continue Steve's legacy by showing love and compassion towards all animals, "not just the soft and cuddly ones, but the crocs as well".

It was then time for the Croc show, which Terri hosted with Wes, and it was during this daily event that she seemed most relaxed and at ease, as though thinking that if she couldn't be with Steve the closest thing she could come to him was to be with crocs.

Throughout the Croc show, Terri joked around with Wes – at one stage saying that Murray the croc weighed 400kg - "almost twice as much as Wes". Later Terri said that the response to Steve Irwin Day had been bigger than she had expected.

"Losing Steve was such a tragedy for all of us, but it has given us the opportunity to take stock and re-evaluate what's important in our lives," she said.

"Some days I'm still waiting for him to come through the door, and sometimes it feels like it's only just happened, while other times it seems like it was a lifetime ago (that he died)."

She said next year's event would be bigger and better and the zoo would continue to expand the event and make it an annual tradition.

Watch Bindi's new video on thedaily.com.au

Jimmy makes Lynette's day

By Christine Stubbs

ANOTHER of Lynette Howlett's dreams came true just two days before her wedding.

The 27-year-old cystic fibrosis sufferer met her favourite entertainer, Jimmy Barnes, yesterday at Australia Zoo.

Jimmy is unable to attend her wedding tomorrow but thanks to the Cystic Fibrosis Queensland organisation, who saw the article in Caboolture News, she got to meet her "Working Class Man".

The Cold Chisel front man was a guest performer at Australia Zoo for Steve Irwin Day.

Lynette's mum Robyn Newton said Lynette had an amazing day at the Zoo, spending time with the rock star.

"She got to watch the show from the side of the stage and Jimmy put on a request for her," Robyn said.

"He said "Here is a special present for a couple getting married" and he sang Lover Lover."

Lynette was also given a tour by the friendly staff.

"She just had a good day at the Zoo," Robyn said.

The Narangba resident was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was just four days old and had been on the waiting list for a double lung transplant.

But in the past four years her health had deteriorated.

Lynette was recently taken off the waiting list because she caught a bug and was told by her doctor that she would not survive the operation. On oxygen 24 hours a day, it's a waiting game for Lynette.

Robyn contacted the Caboolture News hoping to make Lynette's fast-tracked wedding a day to remember and with the help of generous readers Lynette will have just that.

Offers from florists, hairdressers, make-up artists, transport services and the general public flowed in to make her wedding a special day.

Robyn is extremely grateful for the community's response.

"It's unbelievable. I would just like to thank them all very much," Robyn said.

"It's nice to see they have a heart."


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