‘My Steve’ by Terri Irwin

It’s been over a decade since the passing of one of Australia’s greatest wildlife heroes. Not only did he take a family passion and build upon it, he also built upon the lives of people worldwide; educating them and showing them just how great wildlife is. Steve Irwin had a passion like no other; a passion that he shared with his wife, Terri and has been carried down to his children, Bindi and Robert.

The other day I stumbled across ‘My Steve’, the book that Terri wrote and published a year after Steve’s death. When I first bought the book I was a little too young to comprehend what I was reading and never got around to finishing it. However, in the midst of a clean out I rediscovered the book and felt the urge to read it. At first I was sad to start the book because I knew that at some point in time Steve’s death would be brought up, but I wanted to know about Steve’s life and what he achieved before his unfortunate accident through the eyes of someone who spent just about every waking minute of the day with him.

Like his children, I was young when Steve passed away. I have fond memories of watching his documentaries with my siblings, being so drawn into the way he displayed and talked about the animals he was showcasing to the world on the screen in front of us.  Just as Terri mentions in the book, Steve was great in front of the camera and as a viewer at times it felt like Steve’s gaze was looking straight through the lens; it was like you were right there with him.

This book isn’t just about all the good times though. Terri also opened up about their struggles financially and the issues they had with media. Starting off as a small reptile park on the Sunshine Coast they used their passion for saving wildlife and a handful money to gradually expand their business acre by acre. To learn that a majority of it was completed by Steve himself makes the zoo all the more special. He put absolutely everything into it and as a result it is thriving in its purpose to bring people closer to wildlife and educate them. It was lovely to read about their promise that everything they earned through their documentaries and profits from the zoo would go straight back into their business and their conservation projects. A strategy that they still live by today; they take nothing for themselves, a quality that I’ve always admired about the Irwin family.

I was disappointed to discover that on more than one occasion, they had been attacked by the media about their profession. It just goes to show that no matter who you are or what good you do in the world, there will always be someone out there to try and tear you down; a whole army of paparazzi in their situation. It comes as one of the disadvantages of living in the lime light. From ‘breaching’ wildlife laws in Antarctica to being accused of being an ‘irresponsible parent’, the media had no problem in lashing out at Steve and Terri and forgetting about all of the good they were doing for wildlife conservation.

I’m so happy that I stumbled across ‘My Steve’; it was a terrific read and even now, a decade later I feel more connected to who Steve was as a person, and have better insight into just how passionate he was about wildlife conservation. It was also good to notice how far Terri, Bindi, Robert and Australia Zoo has come since Steve’s passing. They regularly pay tribute to their loving husband and father and have done a tremendous job at continuing Steve’s legacy to protect and conserve wildlife around the world, just as Terri promised.


Thangool Storm

Towards the end of a long trip home from Brisbane, my Mum and I spotted this amazing storm passing in the distance just outside the town of Thangool. The grey clouds that contrasted with the colours of the afternoon sky created the perfect opportunity to take some photos.

Vance Joy ‘Fire and the Flood’ Tour

https://jessicamiller97.wordpress.com - Vance Joy 'Fire and Flood' Tour

On April 30, 2016 Vance Joy brought his electric and engaging ‘Fire and Flood’ Tour to Brisbane’s Riverstage. Luckily for me, I was given the opportunity to head along to the concert with a media pass in hand and take some snaps of Vance while he performed for a roaring crowd. Below are some photos from the night.


Heartland Festival

The Heartland Festival is a weekend dedicated to celebrating all things made, grown, and produced in the North Burnett region. This year, the festival will run from Friday, 30 June to Sunday, 2 July.Festival goers will have the chance to experience the North Burnett’s finest wine, food and art at the Gayndah Arts & Cultural Centre. A saxophonist will set the mood on the front lawn on Friday night while My Kitchen Rules winners Dan and Steph Mulheron whip up gourmet platters. Visitors will also have the chance to watch Rhanni McCosker create a piece of artwork as well as view the works of Marlies Oakley and photography displays from local artists.

On Saturday, there will be plenty to touch, taste, and see with more than 60 stalls of fresh produce, flowers, arts, and clothing, along with live entertainment.

Wine and beer tastings will be available, and a bar will operate throughout the day. To keep the whole family occupied, kids can enjoy face painting, a jumping castle, Lego tents, and a sandpit. The market day will be held at the Gayndah Showgrounds from 10am to 4pm with a gold coin donation entry fee.A range of activities will wrap up the festival, including the Sunrise Heritage Railway breakfast experience. For those who can brave the morning chills, there will be champagne, orange juice, avocado, bacon and eggs, and blueberry pancakes in front of an open wood fire. This breakfast experience overlooks the M Class Series Sunlander Carriages at the Gayndah Heritage Railway. Early rises can also watch Ian McNamara broadcast his ABC show “Macca on a Sunday” live.

For those who prefer to sleep in, a Berries to Beef bus tour departing the Gayndah

Heritage Railway at 9am. This tour allows guest to taste and learn about some of the best North Burnett produce on the market straight from the growers, farmers, and producers. Attendees will also enjoy a traditional home-cooked lunch in Eidsvold, complete with dessert and a personal tour of the RM Williams Centre.

Another option for Sunday’s activities is the five-course Coalstoun Lake Valley taste tour. Guests will visit rich, volcanic farms in the area and see champion local pumpkins, figs, avocados, peanuts, beef, pork, citrus, cheese, wine, and craft beer. They will also meet the farmers, feast on local produce, purchase beverages from the travelling bar, then indulge in a warm sit-down garden lunch before being treated to locally inspired desserts, fruits and cheese at the historic Crater Lakes.

Circus of Illusion

Circus of Illusion is gathering its troupe of international performers and ushering them to the Gold Coast. Ebon Grayman, Duvan Alberto Siles Lopez, Stephan Le Forestier, Michael Boyd and Elissa Cadwell will perform under the big top.

Grayman is a born and raised New York performer who is well-known for his role as Ring Master in Cirque Du Soleil. After two years playing Monsieur Fleur’s understudy with Cirque du Soleil, Grayman was then offered the full time role of the character which he held until 2003. Now, he resides on the Gold Coast and will join the Circus of Illusion as the eccentric and funny Ring Master.

Duvan Alberto Siles Lopez, commonly known as Duban Nickol, is a Spanish visual comedian and trampoline acrobat.

Born into a famous Spanish circus family in Pereira, Colomobia, he performed alongside his two brothers as The Niccolinis. After his brothers retired, Nickol starred in Inneuvre for 15 months at the Casino Conrad Jupiter in Gold Coast, followed by engagements in Taiwan, Korea, and at the Europa-Park theme park in Germany. He will continue his role as the circus clown in the Circus of Illusion, entertaining audiences with his deft and clever antics.

A mime, Stephan Le Forestier performs the magical Le Statue act. He began his visual illusionist career as a child performing in a French clown company. After practicing with Marcel Marceau, Le Forestier then went on to form his own company, Mime De Rien. As a performer, he has acted in César Palace, La Nouvelle Eve, and Le Lido. He will bring his incredible French mime artistry to the Circus of Illusion.

Australia’s Got Talent finalist Michael Boyd will also be joining the spectacular line-up of performers. He is an internationally acclaimed illusionist and is back from his hugely successful Cabaret De Paris at Jupiters Casino, Mystique at Crown Casino, and The Ultimate Vegas Show.

His performance is bound to take your breath away as he demonstrates some of the world’s most impressive illusions as well as jaw-dropping escapes, levitations, transformations, special effects, and mind blowing disappearances.

Elissa Cadwell is an aerialist trained at the Queensland Dance School of Excellence in partnership with the Queensland Ballet and Kelvin Grove State College. After touring internationally, she has returned to Australia and performed with companies such as Cirque Le NoirMovie World, and Le Grand Cirque. Now, she is performing as an aerialist with Circus of Illusion.

You can see these professional perform in their element when Circus of Illusion comes to the Gold Coast from Tuesday, 23 June to Saturday, 3 July. Tickets are on sale now.

Kite String Tangle

Just a few years earlier, Danny Harley was a bedroom producer and The Kite String Tangle was nothing but a dream that struggled to get off the ground. It wasn’t until Danny branched into writing his own style of music that his passion and hard work paid off in 2013. He donned the name The Kite String Tangle, scooped up an ARIA nomination, and struck gold in Australian sales for his single, ‘Given the Chance.’ There is little, it appears, the producer, singer, and now record label owner can’t do.

Since his debut, The Kite String Tangle has become well-known for his electro-pop singles ‘Arcadia,’ ‘Stone Cold’ and ‘What If’ which were closely followed by sold-out headline shows. He’s also graced bigger stages, performing at numerous festivals such as Splendour in the GrassFalls Festival, and Groovin’ The Moo.

“It was a literal dream come true. If I could change anything, it would only be my nerves

before each show, which has probably taken years off of my life,” joked Danny.

With an ARIA nomination for “Best Breakthrough Artist” and experience working beside Grammy Award Winning Engineer Eric J Dubowsky, The Kite String Tangle is now ready to release a self-titled album. In the making for three years, it will launch on Friday, 14 July.

“This has been such a long process, it got more and more daunting as time went on. I feel like it’s a fairly honest representation of my own journey in the last few years; both musically and personally,” he said.

Though The Kite String Tangle’s style of music on the up-coming album dabbles in multiple genres, it consistently channels electronic.

“It ranges a little but it’s always rooted in the electronic world but with my vocals and

some organic instruments like piano, string and horns,” said Danny.

What’s next for the triple threat? Getting back on stage.

“I’d definitely like to play the album live in its entirety for people, so I think a tour later in the year is definitely on the cards,” he said.

Going forward, Danny will continue in writing music and challenging his creative abilities.

“I’d like to keep challenging myself musically and push myself to learn more about who I am both musically and as a person. I think that’s what resonates with me a musician and also others as listeners,” said Danny.

Danny also hopes that the Kite String Tangle will have the opportunity to work with some of his favourite artists such as Jon Hopkins and Brian Eno. In the long term run, he hopes to cross international waters to hold a tour overseas.