Terri Irwin


Terri Irwin : biography

July 20, 1964 –

On October 31, 2006 she was invited to the Royal Albert Hall to award a Special Recognition Award to Sir David Attenborough at the British National Television Awards. When she came on stage, the entire audience gave her a standing ovation out of recognition for her bravery in light of her husband’s death. She fought back tears in appreciation of the British people, while the camera cut to Neighbours star Alan Fletcher, who was shown to be fighting back tears also. She cited Attenborough as a great inspiration for her late husband, saying "If there’s one person, other than his father, who directly inspired my husband, it’s the person being honoured tonight." and going on to say "[Steve’s] real, true love was conservation- and the influence of tonight’s recipient in preserving the natural world has been immense."

Attenborough reciprocated by praising her husband for introducing many to the natural world, saying "He taught them how wonderful and exciting it was; he was a born communicator."

On 3 January 2007, the only video footage showing the events that led to Irwin’s death was handed over to Terri, who said the video would never become public, and noted her family has not seen the video either. –> In an 11 January 2007 interview with Access Hollywood, Terri said "all footage has been destroyed." –> On March 2, 2008 it was announced that Bob Irwin, father of Steve Irwin, had resigned from Australia Zoo, of which he was the founder, in order to "keep his son’s dream alive" on a different property with his wife. In a statement to the press, the elder Irwin thanked the staff for all their help but made no mention of Terri whatsoever. At the same time, the zoo was being sued for $2.5 million by a debt collection agency, but the lawsuit was later dropped in an out-of-court settlement., The Daily Telegraph, 8 May 2008.


In 2006, Irwin was made an honorary Member of the Order of Australia for services to wildlife conservation and the tourism industry. ("Honorary" membership in the Order of Australia is a version of the award given to non-citizens of Australia; Irwin had not yet become an Australian citizen at this time.)

Early life

She was born Terri Raines in Eugene, Oregon, the youngest of three daughters of Clarence and Judy Raines. Her family was in the trucking business. During her childhood, her father constantly brought home injured animals from the highways on which his trucks travelled; this eventually instilled in her an ongoing commitment to saving and rehabilitating wild animals. While working in the family business in 1986, she started a rehabilitation facility called "Cougar Country" to re-educate and release predatory mammals such as foxes, possums, raccoons, bears, bobcats, and cougars back into the wild. Soon she was handling 300 animals each year.

Australian citizenship

Terri Irwin, an American by birth, became an Australian citizen on 15 November 2009 in a tribute to her late husband Steve. The citizenship ceremony was held during the Steve Irwin Day celebrations in the Australia Zoo’s Crocoseum., Australia Zoo news archive, November 2009.