Thinking about the birdman rally brought up Steve Irwin. I think I will always be sad we lost him when we did. Regardless of opinion he was passionate about something. I admire passionate people, perhaps because I am one too. He possessed a natural gift for animals that you cannot learn from a textbook. He had an affinity with nature that many of us have never had or have lost.
I will admit to being a convert. The first time I saw him on our screens was when he was peed on by a female orang-utan in Sumatra (I think). I thought he was farcical to begin with yet was drawn in by his sheer enthusiasm. The more I learnt about what he had achieved and hoped for, the more I wanted him to succeed.
I was physically ill when I heard about his accident. No other celebrity has ever affected me as much as Steve did. As an outback girl I felt we had lost a powerful advocate for commonsense and logic when it comes to living and protecting this beautiful country of ours. He made learning about our native animals, in particular crocodiles, important and interesting. He was also a larrikin Aussie bloke and we loved him for it.
He would have celebrated his 50th birthday on 22nd February, and I hope one day that date will be in the hearts and minds of every Australian.