9 comments on “The terror of Kurnell. 1911.

  1. I would like to see that film too. 1911 sounds very early and I imagine the results would be at odds with his dandy modern image in his photo the other day. He’s like another Crocodile Dundee or Steve Irwin. You sure do breed them down there!

    • I don’t know, the film and the photo are (likely) only a few years apart. If he was one of those animal obsessed types I doubt you would get too much acting from him though, they never break character!

      In my (so far unsuccessful) searching for the film I have found a few small snippets from Australia at that time from the national film and sound archive. This one below is completely unrelated (The Aurora leaving the dock) but was from the same year. It made me hopeful that one day the snake king one might turn up. (And on viewing this clip nothing ever changes does it, young boys waving to the camera and then pushing each other around and laughing, you could see that on the news tonight)

      • I meant ruin his image because all people in old films have that funny walk that looks like the film’s played at the wrong speed, if you know what I mean. I’ve never understood that. Keep searching.

        • You are right! Sometimes they look like they need a comic soundtrack. Maybe it was itchy trousers that did it, no soft fabrics of today 😉

          I am still looking…..

  2. I searched some more… and found another Trove article which you may already have http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/64437082

    I searched on http://ryersonindex.net and came up with:

    FOX Frederick Death notice 13APR1914 Death 50 Sydney Morning Herald 14APR1914 – The 50 is in the age colum. Do you think this might be your FF?

    Then I searched on http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/ and found



    • Thanks, that is a good article 🙂 I found another one along similar lines, the bravery of the snake catcher, that also mentioned his small daughter falling into a (I would hope shallow) well where he kept poisonous snakes. He was unconcerned, hauled her out and she was unbitten. I wonder what happened to her? Did she have the snake whisperer gene too?
      Apparently his son wrote some sort of biographical thing about him in the 60’s (1967?) and his wife’s name was Elizabeth, if they were married in 1887 she must have either been very tolerant or loved snakes (almost) as much as he did.

      The death notice would about the right time, he died in March so might April be when his body was returned and his death officially comfirmed by family. 50? Wow, judging by his behaviour and the short span of articles in the papers his fame seemed to last only a few years, I would have thought he was a little younger. Still, impressive that he lasted so long!

  3. I’m fascinated to know what a Snake Show would entail as I for one don’t find them very entertaining. No singing voices to speak off and terrible at tap dancing. I also wonder about the final performance of the final Dunn. Was this final as in he/she retired, or final as in one bite too many?

    • It wouldn’t take much of a shimmy for the sparkly costumes to slide off either would it, no hips!

      The final Cann family member retired of his own free will and was still alive 🙂 Although the newspaper article from 2010 did mention that his wife made him leave his most feisty snakes at home on the last day, just in case 😀

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