Death of a drongo

Steve Irwin was the finest kind of drongo – a genuine ocker mug lair, with a tremendous enthusiasm and generosity. I’d only just started to admire Steve Irwin (after finding his ockerism embarrassing) recently since I learned how much of his TV wealth he has plowed back into conservation and animal welfare projects generally.

I’m appalled at his suddent death while wondering whether this time he took just a few too many risks for the cameras with an animal that normally wouldn’t attack unless stirred up too hard. Still, the man never deliberately hurt an animal in his life, and didn’t deserve to die for startling a few every now and then.

If he’d died this way in a few decades it would have been a somehow fitting end to his life, but he went too soon. I feel sorry for his wife and kids that they won’t have that hearty joyful man around anymore.

UPDATE: Weez has an excellent picture tribute [link]

Categories: Life

5 replies

  1. According to one site I read, stingrays will do that to people if they swim closely overhead and their shadow falls on the ray. It sounds like a freak accident that could happen to anybody.
    Unless of course he was sticking his finger up the ray’s asshole.

  2. […] drongo – a genuine ocker mug lair
    OK, I need a Babelfish.
    Sounds like Nadsat.

  3. Oh, and I meant also to say that I agree with you about his family’s loss. He was a very alive guy.

  4. Listening to the TV and radio this morning: by all accounts, and with film to prove it that’s now in the possession of the Queensland coroner, he was snorkelling 2 to 2.5 metres above the ray, his cameraman a similar distance but off to one side. The ray panicked and lashed out with the sting, and the barbed tail went straight into Irwin’s chest and through to his heart.
    Irwin wasn’t doing anything lots of other underwater film crews haven’t done, and he wasn’t touching the ray at all. Another Oz ocean filmmaker, Ben Cropp, said he was nearly caught by a ray the same way more than a decade ago, which made him decide to keep more like 4-5 metres away from them in future, but it really was just a freak accident. If the barb had caught him on the other side of his chest, or in the leg, he’d be sick and sore but not dead.
    There’s a Reptile Park outside Sydney which has an enormous fibreglass dinosaur (nicknamed “Ploddy” as in diplodocus) on a hill overlooking the Sydney-Newcastle Motorway to remind people that the park is there. Ploddy was Australia’s first large fibreglass roadside attraction, built a year before the Big Banana’s arrival in Coffs Harbour in 1964. For a suitable mourning period from today, Ploddy will sport a large black armband to honour Irwin’s memory.

  5. Vicki:
    a lair is a larger than life character who pulls jokes and stunts
    a mug lair is a lair that makes people laugh happily and is fun to be around
    a drongo is someone who does stupid stuff, but it’s said affectionately and often admiringly
    an ocker is the broad country Australian accent/outlook

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