Bob Irwin lived his childhood in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria, Australia, where his intense interest in wildlife and its environment occupied all of his spare time.
After originally pursuing a career as a plumber in Melbourne, Bob and his wife Lyn decided to uproot the family and follow their dream to sunny Queensland where they opened a Reptile and Fauna Park at Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast.
Bob’s passion for reptiles grew with his ever expanding collection and he soon became involved with various venom labs, for which he would catch the snakes that were later milked for the production of life-saving anti-venom.
Growing up within the Beerwah Reptile & Wildlife Park, and with Lyn caring for orphaned wildlife at home, passion for the environment and all animals was a way of life for the Irwin children. The most famous of Bob’s children was Steve, who became the larger than life and much loved Crocodile Hunter.
Bob and Steve became synonymous with crocodiles, securing contracts with the Environmental Protection Agency to catch and relocate crocodiles that were involved in human conflicts.
With regular trips to Cape York during these years, Bob developed a love for the area and people that sees him returning regularly even these days.
Throughout his career, Bob has been involved in a number of scientific projects, including discovering a new species of freshwater turtle – the Elseya irwini (the Irwin Turtle), a rare turtle found only in the Burdekin River Basin – and a research project in Cape York catching and satellite tracking wild salt water crocodiles.
Following Lyn’s tragic death in 2000, Bob moved to one of Australia Zoo’s conservation properties, where he fulfilled the role of Manager, demonstrating that it is possible to effectively produce cattle without detrimentally affecting the environment or its wildlife. On this property Bob was also instrumental in instituting a koala tracking program, in conjunction with the University of Queensland, to investigate the outcome of rehabilitated koalas following release.
In 2004 Bob remarried and since his departure from Australia Zoo in 2008, two years after Steve’s death, he and his wife Judy have lived on a property near Kingaroy where they gratefully co-exist with the local wildlife.
Rather than mellow with age, Bob has become ever more vocal in representing Australia’s wildlife and making the general public more aware of their often desperate plight. Bob has worked with volunteers from a number of grassroots environmental organisations to draw attention to such issues as the massacre of wombats in farming regions, the inhumane slaughter of dugongs, the atrocities of the kangaroo industry and the imminent loss of koalas from South East Queensland.
He may be a ‘man of retirement age’ but Bob has never been more passionate about our wildlife and our environment and will continue his lifelong calling to fight on its behalf, to educate the community and especially children as to our dependence upon the environment and to influence public policy.
Bob Irwin Wildlife & Conservation Foundation Inc represents the culmination of a lifelong commitment to Australian wildlife, and with your support, will continue his incredible work, long after Bob is gone.