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News Source: The Courier-Mail (5th December 2007)
by Glenis Green
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ALWAYS larger than life in life, Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's image will live on following the unveiling of a marble statue on the Mooloolaba foreshore yesterday
Commissioned by the Maroochy Shire Council and funded from Mayor Joe Natoli's own capital works fund allocation, the $89,000 sculpture shows Irwin and Children Bindi, 9 and Robert, 4, holding a small crocodile.
Terri Irwin and the children unveiled the statue.
Youngest Irwin Robert, who during the speeches still appeared worn out from his fourth birthday party on the weekend, perked up when the wraps came off with a solemn: "It's big" and "wow".
Cr Natoli said the statue - a labour of love by acclaimed Australian artist Silvio Apponyi - was a tribute to Irwin for his work with wildlife and the environment, as well as his commitment to his family. He said it also acknowledged Irwin's four years as an apprentice diesel fitter with the Maroochy Council from 1980-1984. Six of his former workmates were also present yesterday.
"Steve resigned on the day he completed his apprenticeship and on the day he left he climbed up and wrote 'yahoo' on the workshop roof," said Cr Natoli, adding that this particular piece of shire history had now been cut out to preserve it forever.
Terri said she was "overwhelmed" by the statue.
"It's beautiful," she said. "It looks amazing, it feels amazing and I think it's just so special. (Like) a time capsule, a moment in time when we were all a family and it covers everything of importance to Steve - children, wildlife. It's just magnificent and I'm overwhelmed."
A huge fan of the Irwin family, Apponyi said he was honoured to be given the task of creating the statue from a single slab of marble. It took nine weeks to complete.
"I was terrified out of my wits of chopping the wrong bit off."

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