The ebullient Bindi Irwin has grown up with her family of 1200-odd animals at Australia Zoo. In carrying on her father Steve's legacy, she says, "I realised I can use my voice to make a difference and hopefully educate and inspire others. As I turn 18, I'm aware of a greater responsibility resting on my shoulders." Pictured, two-year-old Bindi with her Dad and another zoo resident.
"My dad was the most hard-working person I know," says Bindi. "He would get up at two o'clock every morning - he was a superhero. He'd say, 'Bindi, it's amazing how far you can get if you just put your head down and walk.' Now I see how that applies to life: buckle down, try your best and believe in yourself. If you have that determination and passion in your soul, you can do anything."
Six-month-old Bindi filming "The Crocodile Hunter Diaries" with Steve.
Terri and Steve at home in Beerwah, 75 kilometres north of Brisbane and home to Australia Zoo. The town's main access is named Steve Irwin Way. "I was two when I realised we lived in a zoo," Bindi says.
As her parents travelled constantly, Bindi was schooled by distance education. Her best friend was Maggie, the magpie goose, who convinced the precocious girl that she could learn to fly. Pictured, Steve and Bindi, aged five, at Australia Zoo's Tiger Temple.
"At the zoo I had a mix of different jobs - cleaning up after animals, also taking people on tours and shows. I always wanted to be like Dad. Dad used to say, 'Bindi, remember you have to treat animals as you'd like to be treated.' "
Ten-year-old Bindi with Robert, four, and mother Terri. "Robert and I were always climbing trees when we were little. If Mum couldn't find us, she'd look up and there we were. It was such a fun childhood and those little memories mean everything."
Bindi on a crocodile research trip to the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve on Cape York Peninsula. At ten years old, she won an Emmy for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Show, in recognition of her series, "Bindi: The Jungle Girl".
Since winning the U.S. "Dancing with the Stars", Bindi has completed a Certificate III in Business and is now studying a Certificate III in Tourism, which will guide her management of Australia Zoo.
"Our wildlife work has paralleled our human lives; we all have to work together to make a difference, and it's all about balance and finding that love and light and happiness each day," she says.