- Friday 11 December 2015
The Australia Zoo Wildlife Warrior won the hearts of people across the world during the 21st season of the United States dance competition.
Mayor Mark Jamieson described the 17-year-old as “inspirational” and congratulated her on her win.
As well as the key to the city, Mayor Jamieson presented Bindi with a commemorative surfboard to join her Dancing with the Stars trophy in the “pool room”.
The surfboard includes photos of her time on Dancing with the Stars and family memories with her late father Steve, mum Terri and brother Robert.
“Bindi was a crowd favourite throughout the series and, together with her dance partner Derek Hough, enchanted the judges and the audience with her emotive dances,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Thousands of Coast residents watched Bindi’s progress in the US with great interest and we’re all very proud of her win.
“She went outside her comfort zone and has shown once again how talented and dedicated she is and her positive outlook on life is to be commended.
“As well as entertaining millions in the US, she’s been able to build on the legacy of her late father and highlight the outstanding work she, her mother Terri and brother Robert, and the rest of the Australia Zoo team undertake right here on the Sunshine Coast.
“She’s also spread some very important conservation messages throughout the world and is a great ambassador for the Sunshine Coast.”
Bindi has wasted no time getting back in her khaki and feeding Australia Zoo’s famous crocodiles.
“The Sunshine Coast and Australia will always be home for me and I’m so happy to be back, doing what I love most with my family,” Bindi said.
“I am so thankful for my incredible dancing journey.
“It really does feel like I’ve just woken up from a crazy beautiful dream, but even though LA was amazing, there’s no better feeling than stepping off the plane into the Australian summer and knowing you’re back where you belong.”
Division 1 Councillor Rick Baberowski, whose division includes Australia Zoo, said Bindi’s victory was “the emergence of a remarkable person”.
“She’s not just won Dancing With The Stars, Bindi’s won our admiration,” Cr Baberowski said.
“She constantly shows tremendous commitment and determination to be her best, and just as remarkably she brings out the best in those around her.
“We should be so pleased we have such an exceptional ambassador for this region, the next generation and the cause of wildlife.
“Bindi’s performances on Dancing With The Stars have been inspiring and captivating, and by gaining the world’s attention, she continues the Irwin family legacy.”