The late television star and Australian naturalist, Steve Irwin, is still hugely popular with his fellow citizens despite his tragic death by a stingray during filming of a show over a decade ago.
More than 20,000 people have petitioned authorities in less than a week to support calls for the daredevil presenter to feature on an Australian coin. A number of people began the campaign on change.org as a mark of respect and appreciation for the famous conservationist, who was 44 when he died. According to 7 News, the group also created a Facebook page for the star to highlight the tenth anniversary of his untimely death. Irwin was a by-word for doing daring stunts with crocodiles and other dangerous animals in front of the camera. One of the organisers, Jake Ryan, told News Corp Australia that their plan was to hold an event in Melbourne to encourage people to vote.
Another petitioner, Kyle Ryan, felt it was time to pay respect to “the all-time greatest Australian bloke.” Kyle added that a change should be made for a man who was an Aussie icon. Supporters of the movement have now been invited by the Royal Australian Mint to submit a written proposal to have Steve’s face put on a commemorative coin. The mint said it acknowledges the major role Mr Irwin played in wildlife conservation as well as general Australian culture. The chief executive, Ross MacDiarmid, said they did so by producing a commemorative collectable coin seven years ago. The most recent petition has further highlighted the passion to recognise Mr Irwin and what he stood for, he added. The official policy of the mint is that coins do not feature individuals other than Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the British Royal family. However, in rare circumstances, they allow a commemorative coin to feature the image of an individual.