Parenting

Steve Irwin and Bindi Irwin’s relationship: Why their father-daughter bond is everlasting

''I have the best Daddy in the whole world and I will miss him every day.''
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It’s been more than a decade since Bindi Irwin lost her father Steve, but his memory is still very much alive through her.

“I never wanted to be a dad, I couldn’t really give a rip. Now I’m the proudest father,” Steve Irwin told Australian Story in 2003.

Bindi was just five at the time, but she was already the apple of her father’s eye and the centre of his life.

“I can’t dwell on her for too long or I start bawling my eyes out,” the original wildlife warrior confessed in the candid interview.

“Who would’ve thought someone as ugly as me could bring into the world something so beautiful, such a treasure?”

Steve Irwin cuddles up to his young daughter Bindi.

(Image: Getty)

The devoted father would carry a photo of himself with baby Bindi with him everywhere he went, including trips out “into the field” working with Australian wildlife.

Of course, sometimes Bindi would be right there with him, along for the ride with her crocodile hunter dad that couldn’t get enough of spending time with her.

“If I’m going jumping on crocs, then by crikey I want her jumping on crocs with me!”

As for his take on parenting philosophies, Steve was all about “treating her exactly as [he] would want to be treated” and making sure she got as normal a childhood as possible.

That meant playing with other kids, having a “normal” family dynamic with him and Terri – and of course plenty of time with every kind of Australian animal.

Steve recognised the media interest in his daughter from her earliest years, but he and Terri worked hard to protect her from that, limiting the amount of access reporters and photographers had to their little girl.

But in a tragic twist of fate, Bindi’s biggest media moment would arrive when Steve was no longer there to protect her from the lights and cameras.

On September 4, 2006, Steve Irwin’s heart was pierced by a stingray’s barb, killing him. The news rocked the nation and left a hole in his little girl’s life, and heart.

Speaking at his funeral at Australia Zoo, eight-year-old Bindi said her daddy was her hero and that he always would be.

WATCH: Bindi Irwin speaks about dad Steve Irwin at his funeral in 2006. Story continues after video.

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“I have the best Daddy in the whole world and I will miss him every day,” she said, mum Terri and brother Robert nearby.

“When I see a crocodile, I will always think of him and I know that Daddy made this zoo so everyone could come and learn to love all the animals.

“Daddy made this place his whole life and now it’s our turn to help Daddy.”

Well, Bindi made good on her promise and has spent the years since her father’s death supporting wildlife causes and continuing his work through Australia Zoo.

While her father’s death weighed on her in the almost 14 years since, her lasting bond with Steve is obvious even today.

Bindi reads her eulogy at Steve’s funeral in 2006.

(Image: Getty)

From posting regular throwback photos on Instagram, to honouring Steve with a recent tattoo, Bindi keeps her father’s legacy alive in her daily life.

And, of course, by sharing his memory with her and Chandler Powell’s baby daughter Grace Warrior.

“I cannot wait to tell beautiful Grace all these stories about my dad, to be able to share with her what an amazing father he was,” Bindi, now 23, said in her documentary Crickey! It’s a Baby.

“It’s going to be really special for her to know him through us.”

In honour of Bindi’s lasting bond with her father Steve, we’ve collected some of their most beautiful moments before he passed and Bindi’s latest tributes to his memory.

(Image: Instagram)

Bindi Irwin was born on July 24, 1998 and dad Steve couldn’t have been more delighted with his little girl.

(Image: Getty)

Bindi was born to be a wildlife warrior and shared her dad’s love of animals from a young age. Here they arrive at The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course movie premiere on an elephant in 2002.

(Image: Getty)

Steve adored his little girl, showing her off during rare public appearances, as he and Terri liked to protect her privacy.

(Image: Instagram)

Though little Bindi was a total delight in front of the camera, Steve worked hard to give his daughter a normal childhood.

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His girls were his world…

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…then Robert joined the family in 2003 and Steve’s love for his family only grew.

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Bindi spoke bravely at her father’s funeral in 2006, telling the heartbroken nation that her daddy would always be her hero.

(Image: Getty)

In the years that followed, she and Robert continued their dad’s work in the small ways they could.

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As Bindi grew, she took tbe wildlife work she did in her dad’s memory to the next level and was named the young conservationist of the year in 2014 by National Geographic.

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She was front and centre with her family when Steve was honored posthumously with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018.

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Steve’s loss was more painful than ever on Bindi’s wedding day in 2020, but a fan painted this touching portrait so Steve could be there in spirit.

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Over on Instagram, Bindi regularly marks her father’s birthday and the anniversary of his death with tributes like this one, which she captioned “always in my heart”.

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In 2021, Bindi was inked with a tattoo of a crocodile along with the words “Graceful Warrior”, explaining, “This is my dad’s handwriting to keep him with me, always.”

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Bindi captioned this photo in 2022: “Happy Birthday to the greatest dad and Wildlife Warrior. Today I’ll watch ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ with Grace Warrior and share stories about her incredible Grandpa Crocodile. I love you with all my heart. Your legacy lives on.”

(Image: Instagram)

Bindi and Steve

“My guiding light through life. 💛”

(Image: Instagram)

Crocodile Lodge

At Australia Zoo’s Crocodile Lodge, Bindi was sure to show her daughter some of the most precious family photos featuring Steve.

Instagram

On Steve Irwin Day (15th November) in 2023, Bindi shared a tribute to Instagram saying, “To the world, he will be remembered as the greatest Wildlife Warrior. To our family, he will be remembered as our world.”

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