David began life as a chronic asthmatic and came close to death many times, making things worse, as a young child David was taken to a doctor who recommended he have his tonsils taken out, the doctor believed this would help his asthma, during the operation the doctor pressed down David`s palate so hard he partially paralysed it. The damaged palate made it almost impossible for David to speak. David's parents were advised to take him to a deaf and dumb school, David was only 6 at the time, but his mother Lotus knew if David went to a deaf and dumb school he may never learn to speak properly again, so she sent him to Sydney Grammar. At school David was ridiculed for the way he tried to speak and because he was such a weak and sickly child he was bullied on a daily basis.
When David was ten years old his father was struck down with cancer, what followed was four years of horror for the young boy, every day he had to deal with the sadness of watching his father in pain and the continued bulling that took place at school made life almost unbearable. One day, a chance reading of an advertisement in a local paper, changed David`s life forever.
Back in the 1950`s Don Athaldo was Australia`s strong man, he promoted a special training programme and his advertisement attracted David`s interest. David wrote a letter to Don Athaldo and explained his situation with asthma, the bulling, his paralysed pallet and his dad`s cancer. Don Athaldo then took David under his wing, putting David on a special exercise schedule to strengthen his body and especially his lungs. David then began his day with numerous exercises and at night he would strengthen his lungs by having to blow up rubber balloons.
At the age of 11 David took up spearfishing and boxing, his damaged palate began to repair, his lungs became 20% larger than normal and his boxing skills allowed David to sort out the school bullies, but David`s father continued on a downhill slide with operation after operation on his cancer ridden body. At 14 David`s father died, the sadness of his loss caused David to fail his school exams, his teacher at Knox Grammar decided to make an example of him, he stood David in front of the whole class and gave David six strikes of the cane across his hands. One strike slashed thru David`s palm causing it to weep blood. After the painful caning he informed the class
"this stupid boy will never achieve anything in life"
Over the next few weeks the financial situation at home became clear, the ongoing medical bills of David`s father had basically bankrupted his mother. David left Knox Grammar and got a job at a factory. Even through David was now quite a strong boy and knew how to box, the factory boys soon taught him how to street fight, David had now to deal with factory bullies that were much tougher than the bullies at Knox Grammar.
During the next few years David became more and more interested in spearfishing, by 17 David became a professional spearfisherman, after all the years of exercise David`s lungs had now become almost 30% larger than normal and he found he could breath hold dive well over 100 feet and hold his breath over 4 minutes.
At age 21 David became the general manager of Surf Dive and Sea, a combination surf and dive company, at 25 David trained and became a SCUBA diving instructor and opened Cronulla Dive School, he achieved numerous qualifications and became the holder of three master diving instructor certificates. During the many years of teaching scuba diving David became more and more interested in sharks, he began hand feeding sharks to learn more about them and became one of the principal people responsible for getting the grey nurse shark species protected. Eventually David was awarded the NAUI Ambassador award for teaching the most number of divers in Australia with a 100 % safety record. (Not a bad achievement for a chronic asthmatic)
When David was not teaching diving he spent his spare time with Aboriginal`s in Australia`s outback, learning traditional hunting and survival skills in the bush. David's amazing skills both underwater and in the outback soon gained the attention of the television networks. David became a regular animal presenter for A Current Affair, Good Morning Australia, The Today Show, The Midday Show and Earthwatch. Eventually even Sixty Minutes produced stories on David`s campaign to have grey nurse sharks protected and his goal to educate people about the plight native animals face surviving in the modern world.
In 1980 David married Susan Popplewell and this very loving marriage produced four fine sons, Luke, Adam, Nathan and Jason. When Luke was only five back in 1985 David turned his interest to Crocodiles , he registered the name "Crocodileman" and produced the feature Documentary film " Crocodileman" David is the "original" Crocodileman. His film screened over 12 months in some cinemas in Australia and was shown worldwide on Discovery Channel. While producing the film "Crocodileman" David came very close to loosing his life see stories: Blood Drain and Surrounded by over 100 crocs.
After the success of Crocodileman David became the " Wildlife Man" for Channel Seven`s morning show "Sunrise" The morning animal shows became very popular and attracted the interest of Tony Alevras the director of Eureka Software a children's multimedia company. Tony decided to back David with his current TV series "Wildlife Man featuring David Ireland" Beyond International took over the distribution rights of the series and now David Ireland`s Wildlife Man series is shown around the world on numerous networks including Discovery HD Theatre USA and Canada. David Ireland is arguably one of the worlds most experienced wildlife film presenters and cameramen.
David Ireland was once a boy weakened by lethal asthma attacks, he was rendered dumb by a negligent doctor, he was bullied at school and made an example of by a cruel teacher that caned him and made the statement " This boy will never achieve anything" That teacher could not have been more wrong, because now, David`s Wildlife Man films are seen by hundreds of millions around the world and his dream to highlight the problems wild animals face surviving in the modern world is now a reality.
David`s motto " Never let people put you down, we all have the courage we need to achieve our dreams"