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Steve Irwin was once named Australian of the Year back in 2004, but the decision was overturned at the final minute and the honour handed to cricketer Steve Waugh.

The surprising revelation was revealed in Olympian Lisa Curry’s new memoir Lisa: 60 years of Love, Life & Loss, who was chair of the National Australia Day Council at the time in 2004.

Curry, 59, writes the decision to back down was caused by backlash after a photograph of Steve holding his then-baby son Robert while feeding a croc at the Irwin family’s Australia Zoo went viral.

The late Steve Irwin was once named Australian of the Year, but the decision was overturned at the final minute and the honour handed to cricketer Steve Waugh after after croc-feeding outcry. Pictured in January 2004

The late Steve Irwin was once named Australian of the Year, but the decision was overturned at the final minute and the honour handed to cricketer Steve Waugh after after croc-feeding outcry. Pictured in January 2004

The late Steve Irwin was once named Australian of the Year, but the decision was overturned at the final minute and the honour handed to cricketer Steve Waugh after after croc-feeding outcry. Pictured in January 2004

The council, which awards Australia’s most prestigious honour had already told Mr Irwin that he would be the recipient, before changing their decision a few days later.

Lisa explained that after speaking to Steve on the phone, they agreed he could be nominated a few years later once the controversy fizzled.

She revealed it was a decision she would soon come to regret, with the beloved star fatally stung by a sting ray barb in 2006.

The surprising revelation was revealed in Olympian Lisa Curry's new memoir, Lisa: 60 years of Love, Life & Loss, who was chair of the National Australia Day Council at the time in 2004

The surprising revelation was revealed in Olympian Lisa Curry's new memoir, Lisa: 60 years of Love, Life & Loss, who was chair of the National Australia Day Council at the time in 2004

The surprising revelation was revealed in Olympian Lisa Curry’s new memoir, Lisa: 60 years of Love, Life & Loss, who was chair of the National Australia Day Council at the time in 2004

Regret: Curry, 59, writes the decision the decision to back down was caused by backlash after a photo of Irwin holding his then-baby son Robert while feeding a croc at the Irwin family's Australia Zoo went viral

Regret: Curry, 59, writes the decision the decision to back down was caused by backlash after a photo of Irwin holding his then-baby son Robert while feeding a croc at the Irwin family's Australia Zoo went viral

Regret: Curry, 59, writes the decision the decision to back down was caused by backlash after a photo of Irwin holding his then-baby son Robert while feeding a croc at the Irwin family’s Australia Zoo went viral

Speaking to News Corp, Lisa said she would have made a different decision today, and if possible she would give Mr Irwin the award posthumously.

‘It was such a shemozzle that should never have happened,’ she told the publication on Saturday. ‘Today, I would have just said ”no, we are going ahead with it”.

‘Sometimes you do things to please people, to please the media or the public, and these days I’d go, ”No. This is what we are doing. The person deserves it and it’s going to stand.”

'It was such a shemozzle': Speaking to News Corp, Lisa said she would have made a different decision today, and if possible she would give Mr Irwin the award posthumously

'It was such a shemozzle': Speaking to News Corp, Lisa said she would have made a different decision today, and if possible she would give Mr Irwin the award posthumously

 ‘It was such a shemozzle’: Speaking to News Corp, Lisa said she would have made a different decision today, and if possible she would give Mr Irwin the award posthumously

‘I want his family to know that he was, and always will be, a worthy recipient of that award.’

Steve tragically died aged 44 in September 2006, after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming a documentary on the Batt Reef in Queensland.

His family, including widow Terri, daughter Bindi, son Robert and son-in-law Chandler Powell, have continued his conservation work at Australia Zoo. 

Making Steve proud! His family, including widow Terri, daughter Bindi, son Robert and son-in-law Chandler Powell, have continued his conservation work at Australia Zoo

Making Steve proud! His family, including widow Terri, daughter Bindi, son Robert and son-in-law Chandler Powell, have continued his conservation work at Australia Zoo

Making Steve proud! His family, including widow Terri, daughter Bindi, son Robert and son-in-law Chandler Powell, have continued his conservation work at Australia Zoo

Source: DailyMail

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