The ghost of Steve Irwin
Queensland is a strange place. As I pushed north, wheat fields gave way to sugar cane and that familiar tropical humidity made my shirt stick to my back as I sat under steamy palm trees,. The heat-addled Queenslanders live in a land of snakes and cyclones, bushfires and bull sharks. Steve Irwin, Australia’s beloved crocodile botherer, was perhaps the most famous Queenslander of all, so I couldn’t forgo the opportunitiy to visit his zoo north of Brisbane.
Modestly named, the Australia Zoo was a vast and slightly uneasy tribute to Steve. I wandered around the exhibits of koalas, crocs, ‘roos and dingoes with a quiet Dutchman. The Irwin family seem keen to stress their conservation work – even as we sat in an auditorium watching the zookeepers tease crocodiles with slabs of meat – but I wasn’t convinced by the credentials of a zoo that calls itself the “Home of the Crocodile Hunter”. All the same, I was happy to photograph some kangaroos.