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Grace Warrior: Bindi and Chandler’s baby saved the Irwins from hellish 2021

After a challenging year of highs and lows, the Irwin family will no doubt be looking forward to saying goodbye to 2021 come New Year’s Eve.

Terri Irwin, the widow of the late Steve ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ Irwin, has steered the ship through uncertain waters during the last 12 months as a feud erupted between family members and Australia Zoo faced unprecedented financial troubles.

However, the one silver lining for the Irwins came on March 25 when Terri’s daughter Bindi and son-in-law Chandler Powell welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Grace Warrior Irwin Powell.

Australia Zoo’s financial woes 

Moving on: After a challenging year of highs and lows, the Irwin family will no doubt be looking forward to saying goodbye to 2021 come New Year’s Eve. Pictured from left: Chandler Powell, Bindi Irwin with daughter Grace, Terri Irwin and Robert Irwin

The Irwins were already struggling early in the year, with the Covid-19 recession impacting the family business Australia Zoo throughout 2020.

But things took a turn for the worse in November when Terri, 57, acknowledged the extent of the financial woes at the Sunshine Coast tourist attraction.

She told The Courier-Mail she’d taken out a bank loan to secure the zoo’s future, after months of border closures impacted their revenue due to lack of tourists.

Matriarch: Terri Irwin (pictured), the widow of the late Steve 'The Crocodile Hunter' Irwin, has steered the ship through uncertain waters during the last 12 months as a feud erupted between family members and Australia Zoo faced unprecedented financial troubles

Matriarch: Terri Irwin (pictured), the widow of the late Steve ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ Irwin, has steered the ship through uncertain waters during the last 12 months as a feud erupted between family members and Australia Zoo faced unprecedented financial troubles 

Joy: The one silver lining for the Irwins came on March 25 when Terri's daughter Bindi and son-in-law Chandler Powell welcomed their first child, a girl named Grace Warrior Irwin Powell

Joy: The one silver lining for the Irwins came on March 25 when Terri’s daughter Bindi and son-in-law Chandler Powell welcomed their first child, a girl named Grace Warrior Irwin Powell

She said: ‘We are 11 years from the GFC [global financial crisis] and still feeling the ripples of that. So I want to be prepared for whatever’s coming next.’

Despite state leaders promising borders would reopen soon, Terri said she’d adopted strategies to prevent the animal sanctuary from going under.

The Irwin matriarch noted the early months of the pandemic were difficult because she needed to spend $80,000 a week just to feed the 1,200 animals.

She was also forced to cut costs, reducing her staff from 500 to 200 personnel.

Financial lifeline: Terri said in November she'd taken out a bank loan to secure Australia Zoo's future, after months of border closures impacted their revenue due to lack of tourists

Financial lifeline: Terri said in November she’d taken out a bank loan to secure Australia Zoo’s future, after months of border closures impacted their revenue due to lack of tourists

Terri had previously said on an episode of Crikey! It’s the Irwins she was spending a whopping $400,000 per week on wages.

She told The Courier-Mail her children Bindi, 23, and Robert, 18, were helping raise funds on the retail side of the business to assist with costs.  

While Covid has been economically devastating for Australia Zoo, Terri said she wasn’t angry at the Queensland government for closing the border and enforcing restrictions.

‘This is not the flu we are talking about. If you had open slather, then the health and wellbeing of the majority of people would have been devastating both in terms of the economy and human cost,’ she said.

Terri has been at the helm of Australia Zoo since her husband Steve died in a freak accident while filming a wildlife documentary in 2006.

Crisis: Earlier this year, New Idea reported Australia Zoo was in even more financial strife than previously thought, with a source said 'several key staffers' had been made redundant - a claim Terri would later confirm to be true. s: Bindi, Chandler and Grace in the Australia Zoo gift shop

Crisis: Earlier this year, New Idea reported Australia Zoo was in even more financial strife than previously thought, with a source saying ‘several key staffers’ had been made redundant. Pictured: Bindi, Chandler and Grace in the Australia Zoo gift shop

Earlier in the year, New Idea magazine reported Australia Zoo was in even more financial strife than previously thought.

A source said ‘several key staffers’ had been made redundant – a claim Terri would later confirm to be true.

At that time there were rumours Terri ‘might soon explore the option of selling’ the once-popular tourist destination. 

Last year, Bindi admitted her late father’s legacy was almost on the brink of collapse as the family struggled to keep the business operational during the Covid pandemic.

Struggles: Last year, Bindi admitted her late father’s legacy was almost on the brink of collapse as the family struggled to keep the business operational during the Covid pandemic

Then in January this year a source close to the family told Woman’s Day ‘they still aren’t out of the woods yet’.

Australia Zoo was forced to shut for 78 days last year due to the pandemic, but the Irwins still had to pay $80,000 a week to feed the animals.

The huge outlay placed the zoo in a dire financial predicament, particularly with international visitors unable to enter Australia.

Feud with Bob Snr

The Irwin family feud was laid bare in June when Bindi publicly accused her estranged grandfather Bob Irwin Snr of ‘ignoring her’ since she was a child.

She uploaded a Facebook post celebrating Father’s Day in the USA, saying she was thankful for the ‘three most incredible fathers in her life’: her late father Steve Irwin, her husband Chandler Powell and her father-in-law Chris.

When a fan asked why she hadn’t included her grandfather, Bindi gave an uncharacteristically raw account of their relationship, claiming he’d ignored her since she was a ‘little girl’.

Strained: The Irwin family feud was laid bare in June when Bindi publicly accused her estranged grandfather Bob Irwin Snr of 'ignoring her' since she was a child. Pictured: Bob holding a photograph of Bindi in 2008

Strained: The Irwin family feud was laid bare in June when Bindi publicly accused her estranged grandfather Bob Irwin Snr of ‘ignoring her’ since she was a child. Pictured: Bob holding a photograph of Bindi in 2008

The mother of one wrote: ‘I really wish that my entire family could spend time with [her newborn daughter] Grace. Unfortunately, my grandfather Bob has shown no interest in spending time with me or my family.’

She went on to claim Bob Snr had ‘returned gifts I’ve sent after he opened them’, and ignored any letters sent from her.

‘From the time I was a little girl he has ignored me, preferring to spend time doing anything else rather than being with me,’ she continued.

‘He has never said a single kind word to me personally. It breaks my heart.’

Thankful: She uploaded a Facebook post celebrating Father's Day in the USA, saying she was thankful for the 'three most incredible fathers in her life': her late father Steve Irwin, her husband Chandler Powell and her father-in-law Chris

Thankful: She uploaded a Facebook post celebrating Father’s Day in the USA, saying she was thankful for the ‘three most incredible fathers in her life’: her late father Steve Irwin, her husband Chandler Powell and her father-in-law Chris

Speaking out: When a fan asked why she hadn't included her grandfather, Bindi gave an uncharacteristically raw account of their relationship, claiming he'd ignored her since she was a 'little girl'

Speaking out: When a fan asked why she hadn’t included her grandfather, Bindi gave an uncharacteristically raw account of their relationship, claiming he’d ignored her since she was a ‘little girl’

She added that her mother Terri still writes to him and sends birthday cards and Christmas gifts, but they receive no reply.

‘We have also been his financial support since 1992 when he retired from Australia Zoo, sending him funds every week,’ she said.

‘We built him a house on a beautiful property and will always do our best to ensure his wellbeing. I hope everyone remembers to be kind to one another but most of all care for your own mental health.

‘I have struggled with this relationship my entire life and it brings me enormous pain.’

While Bob Snr didn’t respond to the allegations, Bindi was later condemned by two cousins and a family friend, all of whom described Bob as a kind and caring man. 

Warring factions: While Bob Snr didn't respond to the allegations, Bindi was later condemned by two cousins and a family friend, all of whom described Bob as a kind and caring man. Pictured: Bindi, Terri, Robert and Bob Snr in 2007, one year after Steve's death

Warring factions: While Bob Snr didn’t respond to the allegations, Bindi was later condemned by two cousins and a family friend, all of whom described Bob as a kind and caring man. Pictured: Bindi, Terri, Robert and Bob Snr in 2007, one year after Steve’s death

The rift emerged after years of simmering tensions between the opposing factions of the Irwin clan: those who side with Terri, and those who don’t.

The Irwins were once a close-knit unit, working together at the family-run Australia Zoo on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

However, everything changed when Steve Irwin, known to millions around the world as the Crocodile Hunter, was killed by a stingray barb in September 2006.

Two years after Steve’s death, Bob Snr – who had founded the zoo as Beerwah Reptile Park in 1970 with his wife Lyn – abruptly quit after reportedly falling out with Terri about how the business should be run.

Bob later reached a financial settlement with Terri which allowed him to buy a property near Kingaroy, now known as Camp Chilli.

He has been estranged from Terri and her children ever since.

Falling out: The Irwins were once a close-knit unit, working together at the family-run Australia Zoo. However, everything changed when Steve Irwin, known to millions around the world as the Crocodile Hunter, was killed by a stingray barb in September 2006. Pictured: Terri, Bob Snr, Bindi and Robert at Steve's memorial service in 2006

Falling out: The Irwins were once a close-knit unit, working together at the family-run Australia Zoo. However, everything changed when Steve Irwin, known to millions around the world as the Crocodile Hunter, was killed by a stingray barb in September 2006. Pictured: Terri, Bob Snr, Bindi and Robert at Steve’s memorial service in 2006

Bob Snr first spoke about his fractured relationship with granddaughter Bindi in 2015, telling The Herald Sun they’d lost contact over the years.

‘I don’t like to talk about family matters but no we are not in contact,’ he said. ‘It’s sad but it’s just the way things are.’

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia at the 2015 AACTA Awards, Bindi said her granddad had become reclusive in the years following his son’s death.

‘Everyone deals with grief differently. When my dad passed away he chose to distance himself from everything that dad loved the most,’ she said.

‘At the moment we’re really just respecting his wishes because he hasn’t had anything to do with us for a long time and he decided his own path. That’s important, so good for him.’

Family feud: Two years after Steve's death, Bob Snr - who had founded the zoo as Beerwah Reptile Park in 1970 with his wife Lyn - abruptly quit after reportedly falling out with Terri about how the business should be run. Pictured: Terri, Robert, Bindi and Steve Irwin in April 2004

Family feud: Two years after Steve’s death, Bob Snr – who had founded the zoo as Beerwah Reptile Park in 1970 with his wife Lyn – abruptly quit after reportedly falling out with Terri about how the business should be run. Pictured: Terri, Robert, Bindi and Steve Irwin in April 2004

Pictured: the Irwin family tree, including who sides with Bindi and who sides with Bob Snr

Pictured: the Irwin family tree, including who sides with Bindi and who sides with Bob Snr

Bindi’s estrangement from Bob Snr made headlines again in July 2019, after she became engaged to her now-husband Chandler Powell.

At the time, Bob Snr told the Courier Mail he had not received a response since writing a letter of congratulations to his granddaughter.

He did not attend the couple’s wedding at Australia Zoo in March 2020.

Bindi and Chandler welcome baby Grace

Despite the trials and tribulations of the last 12 months, 2021 will always be a special year for the Irwin family for one very important reason.

It was the year Bindi and Chandler welcomed their baby daughter Grace Warrior. 

The Dancing with the Stars champ gave birth on March 25, which coincidentally was the couple’s first wedding anniversary.

Silver lining: Despite the trials and tribulations of the last 12 months, 2021 will always be a special year for the Irwin family for one very important reason: it was the year Bindi and Chandler welcomed their baby daughter Grace Warrior

Silver lining: Despite the trials and tribulations of the last 12 months, 2021 will always be a special year for the Irwin family for one very important reason: it was the year Bindi and Chandler welcomed their baby daughter Grace Warrior

Grace is the only grandchild of the late Steve Irwin, and it’s already clear to see she has inherited his passion for Australian wildlife.

She has an affinity for the animals at Australia Zoo, as demonstrated by the countless photos her parents have shared on Instagram.

The child is also quite outdoorsy, having accompanied her parents on a bushwalking trip through the Tasmanian rainforest in October.

The legacy continues: Grace is the only grandchild of the late Steve Irwin, and it's already clear to see she has inherited his passion for Australian wildlife

The legacy continues: Grace is the only grandchild of the late Steve Irwin, and it’s already clear to see she has inherited his passion for Australian wildlife

Curious: She has an affinity for the animals at Australia Zoo, as demonstrated by the countless photos her parents have shared on Instagram

Curious: She has an affinity for the animals at Australia Zoo, as demonstrated by the countless photos her parents have shared on Instagram

In the wild: The child is also quite outdoorsy, having accompanied her parents on a bushwalking trip through the Tasmanian rainforest in October

In the wild: The child is also quite outdoorsy, having accompanied her parents on a bushwalking trip through the Tasmanian rainforest in October

Christmas Day marked Grace turning nine months old, and despite all the drama surrounding the Irwin family business, it’s obvious the youngster is the centre of her grandmother Terri’s world.

Grace’s mum and dad are equally smitten, with Chandler saying last month he was over the moon his daughter’s first word was ‘dada’.

Meanwhile, 18-year-old Robert has happily taken on the role of fun uncle. 

Milestone: Christmas Day marked Grace turning nine months old

Milestone: Christmas Day marked Grace turning nine months old

Doting: Despite all the drama surrounding the Irwin family business, it's obvious the youngster is the centre of her grandmother Terri's world

Doting: Despite all the drama surrounding the Irwin family business, it’s obvious the youngster is the centre of her grandmother Terri’s world

Grace Warrior: Bindi and Chandler’s baby saved the Irwins from hellish 2021 Source link Grace Warrior: Bindi and Chandler’s baby saved the Irwins from hellish 2021

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