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SNAKE-CHARMERS KILLED

TRAGEDIES IN SYDNEY (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.) , SYDNEY, 20th December. Two tragedies, one at Sydney and one at Melbourne, have shown during the week that foolhardy risks are run by public performers with poisonous snakes who place reliance upon their supposed personal mastery over wild things or rely upon antidotes of their composition for the avoidance of the worst consequences of being bitten by snakes, which there is no need to drag into shows for gain. The two cases were very much alike. At Melbourne a showman, Henry Deline, aged 35 years, on Saturday began a season as "snake charmer" at the very popular pleasure resort called Luna Park. He was assisted by a young woman styled the "Sleeping Beauty." Part of the performance consisted of the placing of a large number of snakes on and around the woman, who lay on a couch. When Deline was about to add a large tiger snake to those already placed on tho woman the snake sprang at him and drove its fangs dnto his neck/ within a quarter of an inch of the jugular vein. Deline turned deathly pale and fell back into the arms of an attendant. The "Sleeping Beauty" went on with tho show, but the spectators were in a state of panic and many women screamed or fainted. Deline was hurried off to hospital in a motor-car, accompanied by a doctor, who, on the way, carried out, amid great difficulties, the delicate operation of cutting and scarifying the punctures made by the snake alongside the man's jugular. In spite of all attention Define died ftn Tuesday evening! He made several pathetic attempts to convey suggestions regarding the application of an antidote that he believed in. The champion snake* 1 handler of New South Wales, " Professor " Fox, is at present bound for India, where he hopes to gain a big reward from the Government for his introduction of his antidote against the bites of poisonous reptiles, and it occurred to • an enthusiastic amateur "snake charmer," Herbert See, to take the place which Fox usually occupies during the season as ■ a demonstrator of the handling of poisonous snakes to the amazement of visitors to the seaside resort of La Perouse on Sunday afternoons. See was there last Sunday afternoon. He explained that he was not afraid of being bitten, because ho- had an infallible antidote of his own. During his performance a tiger snake bit him on the wrist. He applied some of his antidote, but soon became seriously ill. The man was taken to a hospital and skilfully treated, but died at noon next day.

On a recent Saturday night Constable Patrick Grace created a sensation sit Hindmarsh, a suburb of Adelaide, by bringing into the lockup, one after another, three thoroughly respectable citizens, against whom ho laid charges of diunkenness, although it was apparent that they, were perfectly sober. Two of the men were allowed, to go immediately, but the third was placed temporarily in a cell. Eventually the sergeant in charge suspended Grace, whose conduct was made the subject of a Departmental enquiry. The Chief Secretary stated that the evidence. showed that the policeman -was not in a, fit copdition to be on duty. He had. been permitted to resign from the police force. Silence is ' sometimes golden. The axiom will be now thoroughly appreciated by Mr. J. R. Nicholls, an officer of tho Victorian Public Works Department, who recently had the temerity to talk with some freedom about the State Parliament., and especially about the Watt Ministry, in an oration at a recent "smoke social." The offence cried aloud for official vengeance (says the Age), and the cry was not in vain. Mr. Nicholls, when "carpeted," as he soon was for his tongue wagging, stated that his remarks were merely jocular,' but the "joke" did not movo the risible susceptibilities of the august personages who were supposed to be "in it," and the matter was referred by Mr. E. T. Drake (Secretary for Public Works) to 1 Mr. G. C. Morrison (Public Service Commissioner) for enquiry. Mr. Morrison having held an enquiry into the charge of "improper conduct," has made a certificate to the following effect :— "That such charge having been enquired into, the Commissioner finds it to be proved, and reduces the said J. R. Nicpolls to the sixth division of the fifth class." Mr. Nicholls was previoosly in tho seventh subdivision of the fifth class. The decision of the Commissioner is final.' , It is estimated by Mr. H. R. Mackay, "Victorian Conservator of Forests, at the close of the last hot season that as much as £100,000 worth of growing j timber had been destroyed by bush fires, during the summer, states a Melbourne paper. Many of these fires were known to have been started deliberately in order that the bush might be burnt out, and an increased growth of grass result Action was promised to check the waste of timber, and the late Ministry had under consideration the advisability of tinuing the issue of grazing leases for forest lands. Nothing was done, and the Forests Department is facing the summer with precisely the same prospect of damage to its reserves as was the case last year. In the hope of keeping a more effective check on the persons who may endeavour to burn out the reserves, Mr. Madcay has sti*engthened the* force of forest guards, but ponding more effective action from the Government a similar waste of timber is almost certain this year. During the last financial year the revenue from the forests amounted to £54,754, as against £53,322 in expenditure. It is estimated that the income for the next few years will be £100,000 per annum. The improvement in this direction is likely to be wiped out by the amount of damage each season, rill tho Government deals propurly with the pro-

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19131226.2.104

Bibliographic details

SNAKE-CHARMERS KILLED, Evening Post, Volume LXXXVI, Issue 153, 26 December 1913

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981

SNAKE-CHARMERS KILLED Evening Post, Volume LXXXVI, Issue 153, 26 December 1913

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