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News Source: The Sunshine Coast Daily (5th December 2007)
by Jane Gardner
Click image to enlarge

Irwin family gathers for statue's unveiling
AS Robert Irwin traced his little fingers over his dad's larger-than life marble hand, he whispered "wow!" over and over again.

Robert was the first of many Sunshine Coast children to stare in wonder yesterday at Steve Irwin's statue on the Mooloolaba Esplanade.

The $89,000 sculpture is made from a single block of north-Queensland Chillagoe White Marble.

It took nine weeks for Adelaide sculptor Silvio Apponyi to painstakingly chip out the piece, which is based upon a photograph chosen by Terri Irwin.

The Irwins saw the sculpture for the very first time at a public unveiling yesterday.

"I didn't know what colour, what texture or anything - it's amazing." Terri Irwin said. "I wouldn't have picked white marble, and yet it's beautiful, It just seems to shine and has a life of its own.

"Silvio has really captured that feeling of Steve being excited and being with his kids and a croc it's magnificent.

"It is so special to have Steve commemorated here of all places, because although he went around the world whenever forgot where his home was."

Immortalising Steve Irwin's image in marble was as terrifying as it was humbling for Mr Apponyi.

A single slip or misguided wobble would have rendered nine weeks of continuous work insignificant.

"I was terrified witless the whole time," he said.

"It felt like ... (Steve) was looking over my shoulder whenever i carried out work, making sure i got it right. I would have loved to have met him."

The sculpture, an initiative of mayor Joe Natoli, was paid for by Maroochy council. Mr Natoli said the sculpture's composition was left entirely up to the artist and Terri Irwin.

What's a problem crocodile?
Australia Zoo management is examining the law impact of new laws implemented yesterday by the state government to protect the crocodiles.

For the first time, it will be illegal to approach a crocodile within 10 metres without a reasonable excuse.

Sustainability minister Andrew McNamara said the new laws also defined what constituted a "problem crocodile".

"A crocodile that's over two metres long, if it's not passing through, it's a problem crocodile," he said.

"If a crocodile... (is) breaking into nets and cages to get at caged aquaculture, that becomes a problem crocodile."

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