History of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve

The Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, located on Cape York Peninsula, is a vast mosaic of rainforests, wetlands and savannas. The Reserve has been set aside as a tribute to the conservation work of Steve Irwin and a place for scientific research and discovery.

Formerly known as Bertiehaugh Station, a cattle property dating from the famous, or infamous (depending on your reading of history), Jardine family, the reserve lies on the western side of Cape York, north of the bauxite-mining town of Weipa. At its southern end, it fronts the Wenlock River; to the north, the Ducie River forms another natural boundary.

After the passing of Steve, the Australian Government purchased the Bertiehaugh Cattle Station and gifted it to the Irwin Family as a living memorial in honor of Steve’s commitment to conservation.

Just a few days after being named the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, plans were announced to mine the reserve by clearing the vegetation and extracting the bauxite below the topsoil.

The Irwin Family took up the battle to protect Steve’s Place and the unique flora and fauna that rely on the sanctuary of the reserve. Millions of dollars and six years later, the Australian Government passed legislation to protect the reserve from the threat of strip mining and declared it safe