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Jim’s Australiana Spot – 2UE - December 12, 2016


1 How many types of snakes are in Australia? How many are Poisonous? How many deadly?
  140 - NONE 100 are VENOMOUS- 20
2 One of the first ever 'snake man' at La Perouse was Edward 'Garny' See. How many shows did he do?
3 What snake did Ram Chandra identify and how?
  Taipan - fangs

Since July there is a new 'snake man' at La Perouse, Rob Ambrose

• On Sunday, December 13, 1913, a 37-year-old snake man named Edward "Garny" See stepped into "the pit of death" for his show with the snakes that once thrived in the area: black, brown and tiger. Minutes later he was bitten on the wrist by an eastern brown snake. He died that evening. The show's founder, "Professor" Frederick Fox, also died from snake bites, legendary snake man, John Cann, finally gave up after he lost a kidney from being bitten five times.

After his 1st show Mr Ambrose's visited See's unmarked grave in Botany cemetery, a short walk from the pit, to pay his respects. The La Perouse Snake Show has been a weekend fixture since 1889. For much of this time, the snake showman and woman from 1920 were members of the local Cann family. The Cann tradition ended with John Cann's last show in April 2010.The show is now supported by volunteers from the Hawkesbury Herpetological Society, which promotes awareness and protection of leptospire Ambrose sees his job as part educator, part showman, and as a custodian of the Cann family."I used to watch the show as a kid," he said.

• Ram Chandra - In Mackay in 1946 Ram adopted the name Ram Chandra and developed a sideshow business, all about snakes. He is the man who played a vital role in helping the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory develop an antivenin for the usually fatal taipan snake bite. Areas of Queensland had been hit by a mysterious spate of snake bite deaths which baffled members of the medical profession. Victims had been bitten by "a brown snake" yet failed to respond to the common treatment. Ram was intrigued and set out to solve the puzzle.

He identified the snake as the taipan and in 1955 3 weeks after distribution of the serum which Ram had helped develop my milking the venom from the taipan, the antivenin saved the life of a Cairns schoolboy, Bruce Springer. In 1956, while demonstrating to a conference of senior ambulance officers in the Pit of Death, Ram was bitten repeatedly by a taipan. Ram's own life was saved by the antivenin which subsequently became available thanks to his earlier work of milking the taipan for its venom and sending it to the Commonwealth Serum Laboratory in Melbourne, only 12 months earlier. In 1975, he was awarded the British Empire Medal. He was named the Pioneer Shire Citizen of the Year in 1982 and the Order of the Outback in 1985.


Tall Timber
C J Dennis


(A snake that fastened on a man’s leg in Burnie, Tasmania was much disgusted to find that the leg was a wooden one.)
‘That sort o’ reminds me of the old days’ (said Bill)
‘In the bush at Toolangi, at Switherton’s mill —
A sor-mill, you know — an’ the sawyer we ’ad
Was old ’Oppy McClintock, a wooden-legged lad.
‘’E was walkin’ one day for to tighten a peg,
When a tiger snake grabs at ’is old timber leg;
An’ there it ’angs on, till I fetched it a crack,
But old ’Oppy jist grins as ’e starts to walk back.
‘An’ then somethink ’appens. We seen ’Oppy stop,
As ’e stumbles a bit, an’ looks down at ’is prop
With a dead funny look. Then ’e lets out a yell:
“’Ere, boys! Take it off me! It’s startin’ to swell!”
‘Well, we unstraps ’is leg, an’ it swole an’ it swole.
Snake pisen? Too right! ’Twas a twenny-foot pole
In less than five minutes! Believe it or not.
An’ as thick — it’s as true as I stand on this spot!
We was ’eavin it out, when the boss starts to roar:
“’Ere! Why waste good wood? Shove it on to the sor!
” So we sors it in two, down the middle, an’ then,
Them there slabs swole an’ swole; so we sors ’em agen.
‘An’ we sors, an’ we sors; an’ it swole, an’ it swole
Till the end of the day, when the tally, all tole,
Was two thousan’ foot super. You doubt it?’ (said Bill)
‘You ask any ole ’and up at Switherton’s mill!’


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