It’s almost nine years since Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray while filming on the Great Barrier Reef, and it’s likely that anybody who was old enough still remembers exactly what they were doing on September 4, 2006, when they heard the news.
Tonight, on what’s sure to be a landmark edition of the ABC’s Australian Story, members of Irwin’s croc team will assemble to share memories of their old boss, many speaking pubicly about him for the first time.
The Irwin Encounters includes an interview with Bob Irwin, who hadn’t seen many of the members of his son Steve’s team since leaving Australia Zoo in 2008, and says he was “a bit apprehensive” about participating.
“I’d sort of left their company on what you’d call not a joyous basis and I didn’t know how they’d react,” he told the ABC, alluding to rumours of ongoing disputes between him and others associated with the zoo.
Steve’s old personal assistant Nicole Byrne also appears, and says that she and other members of the team have had a years-long “silent understanding” not to speak about him or his final moments.
Most members of the team are still working in wildlife conservation, and Byrne said that reconnecting for the documentary has sparked the fires of many old friendships. “I forgot how funny they all are,” she said.
There’s a trailer below. Prepare to feel all the feelings:
Photo: Justin Sullivan via Getty Images