The History of Steve Irwin: Crocodile Hunter for Kids

Close your eyes and imagine you are riding down a river in a boat. The river is surrounded by swamp land. You hear bugs chirping in the trees and fish darting through the water below you. You are driving slowly, cautiously, watching the surface of the water for one of the largest, most ancient reptiles which rules these rivers — the infamous crocodile. At the front of the boat is the man known as The Crocodile Hunter. Behind him is a cameraman, who is filming the adventure. The Crocodile Hunter holds up his finger and you slow the boat’s engines. He points to the left and you look out across the river. Poking out of the water are two huge eyeballs and a long bumpy snout. Suddenly, The Crocodile Hunter dives out of the canoe and into the murky water. The cameraman films The Crocodile Hunter as he swims toward the crocodile and grabs it around the neck. You row closer as the cameraman continues filming. The Crocodile Hunter bursts from the surface of the river with the crocodile’s jaws trapped shut. Others in the boat help pull the crocodile onto the boat. The Hunter climbs into the boat and shouts into the camera “Crickey, we got one!” You have been witness to an amazing capture by the one and only Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin.

Steve Irwin was born in February 22, 1962 in Essendon, Australia. Coincidentally, he was born on his mother’s birthday! Steve’s father, Bob, was a herpetologist. A herpetologist is someone who studies reptiles. Steve’s mother, Lyn, was a wildlife rehabilitator. A wildlife rehabilitator is someone who helps animals until they are able to survive in the wild again.     

When Steve was 8 his family moved to Queensland, Australia, and his parents started the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, sort of like a zoo for reptiles. At the park Steve grew up around lots of reptiles and crocodiles. From a young age, Steve’s job was to help at the park, from cleaning to helping take care of the animals. Like his parents, Steve loved learning more about animals and taking care of them. On Steve’s 6th birthday his parents bought him a 12-foot python!

When Steve was 9, his father took him on a trip to the river to look for a crocodile they could capture and bring back to their park. Steve was so excited to track down his first crocodile. When they saw the crocodile, Steve jumped out of the boat and tried to grab onto it! With the help of his father, they wrestled the crocodile into the boat and took it back to their zoo. There they fed and took care of it. Many of the crocodiles they brought back to their zoo were ones who were causing trouble in neighborhoods or needed to be nursed back to health.

Steve was very adventurous. Often he’d wander off into the woods, climb trees, hunt down reptiles on his own and bring them back to his parents’ park. As he got older, Steve spent a lot of time relocating crocodiles. Crocodiles were relocated, because people were worried about them being near their homes. Over the years, Steve captured and relocated over 100 crocodiles! He became an expert at working with crocodiles and was known all over the world for his skills.

When Steve got older, he became the new owner of his parents park and renamed it the Australia Zoo. Many people loved visiting the zoo because of Steve’s personality. He loved being around animals and sharing his experiences with others. Steve was very funny and did wild things like dive into the water with crocodiles. In 1991, an American woman named Terri Raines was visiting the Australia Zoo. She saw Steve interacting with the animals and thought he was so funny and passionate about what he did. Steve saw Terri in the crowd and said he fell in love with her at first sight. Four months later were engaged and later got married. They had two children, a girl named Bindi, and a boy named Bob.

Terri followed Steve on his adventures and with the help of a cameraman began filming him in the wild as he wrestled and captured crocodiles. With the first videos they created a show called The Crocodile Hunter. Eventually, the show became very popular in over 130 different countries and reached over 500 million people. Steve work a tan shirt and shorts, spoke in an Australian accent, was exciting and said funny things like “Crikey!”

Steve did a few other shows about dangerous animals, but more than anything he loved to show people all of the interesting animals all across the world, so they would come to care about them like he did. He used his money to buy large areas of land to make sure the species that lived there would be safe. He once said of himself “”I consider myself a wildlife warrior. My mission is to save the world’s endangered species.” He donated much of the money he earned to helping save endangered species. An endangered species is an animal that is close to becoming extinct, which means they are all entirely gone. He also spoke out against poaching, which is killing animals illegally and killing animals that are endangered. 

Steve loved his two children and often brought them along on his adventures. He also started filming a show featuring his daughter, Bindi, called Bindi the Jungle Girl. 

Sadly, when Steve was on one of his adventures, snorkeling and filming ocean wildlife, he was stung by a stingray and passed away. Many were shocked and sad to hear about what happened to Steve. He was a great inspiration to everyone who watched him. He taught others to care about wild species and what could be done to help save them.

Over the years, Steve was given many awards for his achievements over the years. His wife, Terri, and children have continued to run the Australia Zoo and many will remember Steve for his big heart and contagious smile. 

Like Steve, you can find something you are passionate about and do all you can to learn more about it and become better at it. Steve became an expert with crocodiles due to lots and lots of practice. Some skills are learned in books, but many skills are learned by doing. Think about something you are interested in and take the time to consider how you can make a plan to improve that skill. 

Like Steve, you care share what you are passionate about with others. As you do this, you can inspire others. This may mean sharing something you drew or something new you learned. Steve also cared deeply about those around him like his wife and children. Think about what you can do to show those around you that you care about them. 

Finally, take the time to think about the amazing world around you, all of the animals in it, and what you can do to keep it a safe place for them. After all is said and done, we share the world with them and need to make it liveable for them as well. 

Nancy Wake Story for Kids

Close your eyes and imagine you are a soldier flying in a plane high above the ocean. Outside you hear the plane’s propellers turning and strong winds rushing past the windows. It is the middle of the night and down below the ocean is dark and cold. Sitting around you are other soldiers, men and women with dark clothes and large backpacks. They look nervous and you feel nervous too. You check your gun and tighten a parachute which is also on your back. 

The year is 1944 and you are in the middle of World War 2. Nazi Germany has invaded France. France’s allies England and the United States and other countries are working to help France and many other countries be free again. If the battle can be won in France there might be a chance to beat the Nazis and make the world a safe place again. You look around at the other soldiers, but remember you and the others here are no ordinary soldiers. You are part of England’s Special Operations Executive, commandos which are a combination of a soldier and a spy. You have trained many months to be a commando and it’s finally your chance to help the people of France. 

“Everyone ready?” a voice calls from the back of the plane. You look out the window and see that you are above land now. This is France. You and the other soldiers stand up and walk toward the back of the plane. In the front you see one of the most famous commandos — a woman named Nancy Wake. The back doors to the plane open. You watch as Nancy walks to the back of the plane and jumps out into the cold night. Soon you jump out, too, and are are falling down, down toward the ground.  At the right moment you pull your parachute and are yanked up into the sky. You look across the French countryside and float downward until your boots hit the ground and you roll, then hurriedly wrap up your parachute. 

Nancy Wake and the other commandos are running low across a grassy field to the cover of trees. Someone whispers that a German patrol is nearby. You quietly hurry on until you are hidden deep in the woods. Everyone huddles together and pulls out their backpacks. You see that Nancy is safe and are glad to have such a brave woman leading your team. You know with her help you can accomplish your dangerous and very important mission. 

Nancy Wake was born in Wellington, New Zealand. A couple years later her family moved to Australia. There she went to school until the age of 16 when she left home and found a job as a nurse. Working as a nurse, she was able to save some money and with the help of an aunt, was bought a plane ticket to New York City. There she learned how to become a journalist. A journalist is someone who writes stories for the newspaper. To Nancy being a journalist was an adventure. She loved to travel and learn about new people and places. One of the places she visited was Austria. While she was in Austria a powerful leader named Adolf Hitler had become very powerful. Hitler’s country of Germany was nearby Austria. In Austria Hitler’s followers, the Nazis, were hurting people they did not like, such as the Jews. When Nancy saw how horribly the Nazis treated these people, she realized Hitler was very dangerous.

Nancy moved to Paris, France one of her favorite places in the world. She loved the city and the people and eventually married a Frenchman named Henri Edmond Fiocca. While Nancy was living in France, Hitler’s army invaded the country. Hitler wanted to control France, but Nancy did everything to try and stop him. She joined a group called The Resistance. She helped soldiers escape France and sent secret messages to help The Resistance. Nancy was very careful, so for a long time the Nazis didn’t know she was a spy. She was very sneaky and for this reason the Nazis called her “The White Mouse.” Her job was very dangerous, but Nancy knew that fighting against the invaders was the right thing to do, so she did it anyway. The Nazis wanted to catch Nancy so badly that they offered 5 million French dollars to anyone who would turn her in. 

Soon it was too dangerous for Nancy to stay in France, so she snuck out of the country, hiding in the back of a coal truck, just before the Nazis caught her. From France she went to Spain and then to England, which was a country safe from the Nazis. Nancy could have lived a safe life in England far from her enemies, but she knew she needed to keep fighting to keep the world free. In England Nancy joined England’s spy group called the Special Operations Executive. There Nancy trained to be a soldier and a spy, also known as a commando. She learned to shoot a gun, use a radio, and be sneaky, which she was already pretty good at. But Nancy worked very hard and tried to be very cheerful. When other soldiers were sad she made funny jokes and cheered them up. The other soldiers like to be around Nancy. 

Once Nancy and the other soldiers were trained, a plane flew them across the ocean to France where they jumped out and parachuted down to the ground. Many Nazis were in France so they were careful and spent much of the time in hiding. There Nancy and the other soldiers helped The Resistance. They gave them guns and other supplies, blew up bridges, recruited more people to the Resistance. Once they even attacked a Nazi base. Nancy and the other commandos weren’t afraid to complete dangerous missions to help free the people of France.

To keep in touch with England the commandos used radio and special codes. One night the codes were destroyed by the enemy and the next closest radio station was very far away. Many would have given up, but Nancy decided she could ride a bike to the other radio. So she jumped on her bike and rode almost 200 miles. She had to pass many Nazis along the way, so it was a very dangerous journey, but Nancy was brave and believed in her cause. After delivering the message to be sent, Nancy got back on her bike and rode all the way back to her team.

While Nancy and the other commandos were helping The Resistance, the Allied Armies fought Hitler’s army on the battlefield until chasing them out of France. Nancy was excited to see France free again and proud to have been one of many to make it happen. 

After the war Nancy received many medals for her bravery. Later she wrote a book about her life and adventures during the war and called it “The White Mouse.” Nancy moved into a hotel in France where the owners and others helped take care of her, because of all she had done to help their country. Nancy Wake’s bravery inspired many women and men for years to come. 

Like Nancy, you can do things even when you’re not sure how they’ll turn out. Sometimes we only want to do the things we know about — this is called staying inside our comfort zone. But it’s also good for us to get outside of our comfort zone and try new things like Nancy did. We can stand up for what we believe even when it might be scary. If you see someone picking on someone else, you can tell them this is wrong and stand up for them. You might wonder if you can be as brave as Nancy, but remember she was once a child just like you. 

The History of Australia for Kids

Close your eyes and imagine you are driving in a jeep down a dirt road. The land is flat and brown and the sky is clear and bright blue. You drive for several miles and see nothing but brush and empty land, then suddenly there is movement in the brush and you spot two kangaroos hopping across the road. Further ahead you see some a pack of dingos, or wild dogs, racing through the brush. Soon there are trees and you slow the jeep to a stop. You pull out your binoculars and gaze through them at the trees. You see exotic birds and other wildlife and take notes about what you observe. Soon the sun goes down and the air is alive with the buzz of insects. The stars are glittering overhead. You unroll your bedroll and lay out, staring at the sky above and listening to the sounds of the night, amazed at the wonders of the Australian outback.

Have you ever heard of Australia? Australia is an awesome country, with a fascinating history and incredible wildlife, which is also home to many amazing Bedtime History fans. As Australian fans have donated and written reviews and shared their love of Bedtime History I’ve thought “wouldn’t it be fun to do an episode all about Australia!?” 

First off, Australia is the only country in the world that covers an entire continent! It’s located between the Pacific and Indian Oceans and is often called “the world’s largest island.” It’s also the sixth largest country in the world by land area. The geography in Australia is very diverse. It has fertile land for farming in the southwest and southeast — and in the northeast it has wet rainforests. There’s also the famous Australian “outback” which is an extremely hot and dry desert with very little water and plant life. In the southeast is a long mountain range called the Great Dividing Range — off the northeast coast is the Great Barrier Reef, which is the world’s largest coral reef, where people travel from all around the world to snorkel and scuba dive to explore its exotic sealife. 

People have lived in Australia for a very long time. 65,000 years ago it’s believed humans crossed ancient land bridges from Asia to Australia. These people later became known as the aborigines. They were hunter-gatherers, which means they lived off hunting animals and gathering food such as berries and other plants they could eat. Aborigines spread across Australia and formed their own unique cultures and societies thousands of years before Europeans arrived. 

The first recorded European explorer to land in Australia was a Dutch sailor named Willem Janszoon. In 1606 he made a map of the area, met the native aborigine people, and named the island “New Holland.” Later English explorers such as William Dampier arrived and then in 1770 Captain James Cook, who claimed Australia for his own people.

In 1787 the first fleet of 11 ships left England and sailed to Australia. Because settling a new land is hard and often very dangerous, one way the British decided to do this was to use convicts to farm and settle the land. A convict is someone who has been found guilty of a crime and sentenced to prison. But the British leaders decided that rather than put these people in prison, they could use them to settle Australia. This first group included 730 convicts and 250 free persons. The early years in Australia were very hard. The settlers had to deal with diseases, insects and other pests, and often fought with the native Aborigines. But the British continued to settle Australia and sent more convicts to farm and prepare the land. Over time the settlements grew and spread further across Australia. 

By 1830, 58,000 convicts had come to Australia. To the surprise of many, the settlements did well even though they were mostly populated by former criminals, and most of the convicts didn’t continue to commit crimes. Eventually, Australia began to prosper as farms produced grain and other industries such as whaling and sheep farming thrived. Before long sheep wool was one of Australia’s major exports. An export is an item that a country can produce and sell to other countries. This was also a time when explorers ventured out and discovered new, exotic places across Australia. They wrote about their adventures and captured the imagination of people all around the world with their tales about the wonders, beauty and wildlife of Australia. 

Over time the governments of Australia changed from being authoritarian, that means run by a single person or groups of people, to a democracy, where the people vote and have say in what laws are passed and decisions are made. Different states began to form across Australia and today it consists of six states: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia. 

Because Australia is a separate continent, surrounded by water, its animal life has evolved on its own for many thousands of years. For this reason, many of the animals in Australia don’t exist anywhere else in the world and are very unique. Have you ever seen a picture of a kangaroo? Kangaroos stand up-right, carry their babies in a pouch and hop across the land. Nowhere else in the world will you find kangaroos. The same goes for wallabys which are similar to kangaroos but much smaller. Koalas, which climb in trees and the very funny look platypus can also only be found in Australia. The platypus looks like the combination of a duck, a beaver and an otter! Be sure to find a picture later if you’ve never seen a platypus before. Tasmanian devils and dingos are two other mammals unique to Australia.

Many of the deadliest species in the world can be found there, too, such as the poisonous funnel-web spiders and twenty types of venomous snakes, such as the taipan.

Australia is also famous for the Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Opera House is also one of the most recognizable buildings in the world. It was built along the harbor and its roof is shaped like several huge overlapping white shells. Workers started on it in 1959 and it cost $102 million dollars to build. 10,000 people worked on it until it was finished in 1973. Every year more than 10 million people visit the beautiful Opera House to wonder at its architecture and to be entertained.

Some notable people born in Australia are Saint Mary MacKillop, who served the aboriginal people in the Outback and established several schools to help educate the poor and needy. Howard Florey, who saved millions of lives by developing penicillin into a usable drug. Edith Cowan, who campaigned for women and children’s rights in the 1900s. And Sir Marcus Oliphant who helped develop the radar and atomic bomb.

Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter and Nancy Wake, the WW2 spy and commando, were also Australian. You can find episodes about them on our podcast. 

Australia is also one of the world’s most ethnically diverse countries. This means people come from many different races and backgrounds, such as the United Kingdom, Africa, China, Vietnam and the Middle East.

Many famous actors and actresses were also born in Australia: Chris Hemsworth who plays Thor in the Marvel movies, Hugh Jackman from The Greatest Showman and X-Men, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush, Mel Gibson, Hugo Weaving, Margo Robbie, and Errol Flynn are other actors to name just a few.

Some of the popular sports are Australian football, rugby, soccer, cricket, basketball and baseball. Australian football is similar to rugby, but with different rules. If you’ve never seen rugby it’s similar to American football, but the players don’t wear pads and can toss the ball back and forth. In Australian football the goal is to carry the oval ball down the field and then kick it between goal posts. If you’ve never seen it before be sure to find a video. Swimming, cycling, dancing and tennis are also popular in Australia. 

Do you think it would be fun to visit Australia someday? I do sure do! Learning about people from different places shows us how diverse the world is. I think this makes life very interesting. That everyone looks different, has different customs, and interests and hobbies, and a unique history makes the world a vibrant and unique place. Be sure to take the time to learn more about Australia by looking up photos and watching videos of this most fascinating country and continent!