"I'M ROBERT IRWIN, AND I WEAR HARD YAKKA"
Robert Irwin knows a thing or two about hard work and unruly workmates; sporting his iconic khaki's, Robert takes us into a day in his life in a special instalment of our Meet the Legends series. Get up close and personal with Robert's love for wildlife and learn about his longstanding history with Hard Yakka.
“My life has always been around wildlife and wild places and legacy is one of the most important parts of my life."
It's all about continuing a mission that my dad originally started and that really is a love for life. It's always about giving everything 100%, having that passion and enthusiasm for what you do. Living in a zoo, I've always had such a strong connection to wildlife and to animals.
I've grown up in the most fantastic world, surrounded by tigers, crocodiles, rhinos and elephants. My alarm clock in the morning are lemurs, right next to my house. It is the most incredible life to live. Wildlife is the biggest part of my life. It's my passion, not just what I do, it's who I am. Being an animal conservationist and an environmentalist is definitely part of my DNA. It's in my blood. As the next generation, it's my responsibility to use my voice and platform to make the world a better place.
"Anyone who says going in and feeding crocodiles is a walk in the park is kidding themselves."
It's a scary thing, and it's an adrenaline rush every time. I love it. I thrive on it. It's my favourite thing ever to jump in there with our beautiful crocodiles. We allow our crocs to strike out of the water, using all of their predatory instincts. It's definitely hair raising at times, but by doing that, they live an amazing life, and they really enjoy themselves. We can also educate the world on how important these guys are. They are a true apex predator. There isn't a second that goes by when you're in there working with crocs that your heart isn't through the roof. Let me tell you, it's the best. It’s ok if it’s a little scary, it’s how you respond to the fear, you’ve got to have the right people around you and you have to be willing to put in the hard yards every single day.
Photography has been a big passion for me for a lot of years, and it's become something that's so much more than just documenting an image, simply to remember a moment. Now I find it's a great art form to push a conservation message, and I found it to be my own individual way of continuing my family's legacy. If I can get behind the lens, get closer than most would to dangerous animals, put myself on the line and capture truly spectacular and unique images, I can share that with the world and hopefully help people connect with the natural world. That is what dad was very passionate about. He would always say, people want to save the things that they love, and that comes with that connection, even if it's just through a photo.
My dad was the definition of a superhero. He was absolutely turned up to eleven every second of every day – he was so incredibly passionate. He gave his heart and soul into every single thing he did. That also meant he was hard on the gear; he was really hard on anything he wore and anything he used. It was go, go, go all the time. He had to trust something that was going to stand the test of time.
I’m definitely most at home when I’m in the ocean. I've loved the ocean from a really, really young age. It has always been my dad who had that strong connection to the sea and he instilled such a passion and love for the aquatic environment. He was an amazing surfer, one of the absolute best and a passionate diver. He could free dive and he would get so incredibly one on one with wildlife under the water, and he was so keen to share that with me.
Hard Yakka has been a linage in my family for a lot of years. It’s that long lasting gear that you can take with you no matter what the adventure is and you know it’s reliable. It's got your back, quite literally. I've always been a Hard Yakka bloke myself, and it certainly runs in the family.