Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

As Land Heals So Does Family; Sunshine Coast Daily Photojournalist Nicholas Falconer Spends a Weekend with the Irwins

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

As Land Heals So Does Family; Sunshine Coast Daily Photojournalist Nicholas Falconer Spends a Weekend with the Irwins

Article excerpt

TERRI Irwin looks relaxed.

Through the window of her house on the south-western Queensland conservation property she can see a dozen or so emus, sauntering around in the front yard.

She and Bindi laugh at the curious antics of the birds, which act like they are in a television soap opera, and call it aour own emu TVa.

aIt's our escape... it's healing to come up here,a Terri said.

Here is about 33,990ha of land, which is fast regaining its biodiversity with many different species of flora and fauna becoming re-established and found after years of broad scale clearing by farmers.

Officially, the name of the Westbore property is Mourachan, but Terri calls it paradise.

More than 10 years have passed since Steve and Terri drove into this semi-arid region known as the Brigalow Belt and set up camp with Bindi near one of the many waterholes.

aSteve had a hunch, a gut feeling, that the rare Woma python may be there.a

So they bought the first of many properties in the area, about 8000ha or 20,000 acres, when it was $24 an acre.

It was the start of a dream, a plan to conserve the diversity of the semi-arid ecosystems and wildlife, a safe haven where native animals can re-establish populations.

Terri and the Australia Zoo staff ensure the dream continues today, as does the planning, but there is no getting around the fact that it is without Steve.

aYeah, we talk about Steve, there are good days and bad days,a Terri said. aRobert had a hard time, even out here and I think somewhere he must remember being out here with Steve because all of a sudden he, he's just done, and for an hour he's just inconsolable.

aBut that's fine, I think it's okay to miss your dad and cry when you miss someone... do the what ifs, if onlys...

aYou know, it's really hard and it's not you are a better or worse person, you are who you are because of what happens to you in your life and, it's just the way it is.

aAnd teaching Bindi and Robert that there is no right or wrong way for grieving so long as it's not hurting you or someone else. …

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