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Sunday, September 10, 2006

CROCODILE HUNTER - Irwin family says the last goodbye.

Steve Irwin was buried on Saturday, there will be a public Memorial service soon...

STEVE Irwin was farewelled by family and friends yesterday after a private service on the Sunshine Coast.A close friend said a service was held at the Caloundra Gregson and Weight funeral home chapel and crematorium at 2pm.

It is believed the service was a prelude to Irwin, 44, being buried at his beloved Australia Zoo.

The friend said Caloundra City Council officials this week gave the Irwin family permission to bury the Crocodile Hunter on family land near Australia Zoo.

"Yesterday's service was a service for family and good friends, people who were close to Steve in recent years," the friend said. "The council gave the family permission to bury Steve at the zoo and we think they're going to erect a monument there so visitors can continue to pay their respects."

TV news reports last night speculated that Irwin's body would be laid to rest at Australia Zoo, either last night at a dusk service or after a dawn service today. Channel 9 showed helicopter footage of a white van with two police escort cars seen entering the zoo, suggesting that the vehicle was carrying Irwin's body.

Earlier, Irwin's manager John Stainton told US TV network CNN: "We are having a private family service in the next two or three days, by Monday.

"Then we'll start planning the memorial service which will be open to members of the public."

Friends said Irwin had often expressed his desire to be buried at the zoo but family representatives would not confirm if the service had taken place.

On Thursday, Irwin's father, Bob, declined an offer of a state funeral, saying the family would opt to farewell him at a private service for only family and close friends in "the next seven days".

He pledged that a public memorial service would be held in the next fortnight, with Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium a possible venue.
A flood of tributes from around the world continued to arrive at Australia Zoo yesterday.

Mr Stainton said on CNN that the sombre atmosphere that followed Irwin's death was lifting as life got back to normal at the zoo at Beerwah, just north of Brisbane.

"Steve loved this zoo, it was built for people to enjoy. We want people to come back and celebrate his life," he said.

Mr Stainton said Irwin's children -- Bindi, 8, and two-year-old Bob -- were handling their father's death "really well" thanks to the strength of their mother, Terri, who had suffered some sad moments since her husband was killed by a stingray's barb while snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef in north Queensland on Monday.

"They're holding up quite well," Stainton told King.

Be encouraged!

GBYAY

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