Crikey! The world-famous wax museum Madame Tussauds has unveiled a wax replica of Australian crocodile hunter Steve Irwin.
Wes Mannion, director of Australia Zoo and Irwin’s longtime best friend, attended the official unveiling in Sydney today and said the lifelike wax sculpture was helping to keep Steve’s spirit alive.
He was genuinely impressed when he first saw it.
“How awesome’s that? That’s incredible,” he said.
“When we lost Steve, we all made a conscious decision to make sure that we didn’t hide away Steve because of our own feelings … the vision of Steve, the posters, everything.
“It was hard at first, but it’s bigger than just me. What he was all about is bigger than all of us so I’m really, really excited about this because it’s just going to bring him to the fore again.”
Madame Tussauds general manager Steve Hinks said the sculpture was the most requested since their opening in 2013, adding that it was an honour to have Steve join the Sydney display.
“There’s no doubt that Steve Irwin was not only greatly loved, both here in Australia and overseas, but he was also highly respected for his animal conservation efforts,” he said.
“With that in mind, we wanted to ensure that Steve was in the landscape where he was well-known and amongst what he loved and championed for – everything Australian.”
The artists at Madame Tussauds spent about three months working on the wax figure with help from the Irwin family. One whole month went into implanting each strand of Steve’s hair, a fact Mr Mannion thought “larrikin” Steve would find quite amusing.
When asked if the family would visit the striking sculpture, Mr Mannion said it may be too soon for the children.
“I’m sure Terry will at some point. I don’t know about the kids, they probably need to grow up a little bit more,” he told The Newsroom.
The sculpture is now open to the public at Sydney Harbour’s Madame Tussauds. – Photo and report by Lily Mayers