To complete what has clearly become shark week, here is a bit of long reading over the weekend, just in case you had nothing better to do. 😉
This link will send you to an interesting Trove article by Fred Maher in 1936 detailing shark attacks in Australia from 1837 to 1936. It is a bit long (and faded) to reproduce here but you just know it is litany of damage and death…
The first shark attack was noted in January 31, 1837, in the Maclean River NSW. A 12yo boy was attacked by an unknown monster and died later in hospital. The suggestion that his injuries were caused by a shark were ‘generally discredited’. I wonder what they thought did the damage?
In 1847 an aboriginal was paddling his feet off the sailing ship Rattlesnake and a ‘fearsome ghost stole up on him from beneath the serene blue waters’ and bit off his leg. Eeeek.
In 1919 a young man was wading in chest deep waters when his leg was unexpectedly bitten off. His mate pulled him out but he died later. —>
It goes on with more tales of terror but all I need to know is that sharks eat people. No surfing for me!
Out of curiosity I tried to google the size of the largest shark ever caught. The biggest one I could find was just under 18ft according to some, and around 20ft according to others.
I have to say that none of them seemed entirely accurate though. More ‘it was THIS big’ fisherman’s tales? If you know of an accurate report of the biggest one ever landed please let me know!
I did find this interesting reference in an article from 1945.
Apparently the biggest shark ever caught was a (White?) Pointer near Port Fairy 70 years earlier.
That shark was a frightening 36ft 6 in.
Just to put that in perspective the shark in the photo below (caught off Kangaroo Island in South Australia on Christmas eve 1930) is a tiddling 16½ foot long.
The shark in Jaws was only 25ft long…
I REALLY want that Port Fairy monster to be the biggest shark ever caught. I wonder how accurate that measurement is, or has the shark’s size grown with each successive re-telling of the tale?
I wonder how big the biggest one lurking out there actually is. After all, to get that big it would surely have to have enough cunning to know to avoid things bigger than itself, like boats with eager fishermen…
To really, really, end shark week I will share this final clip. It is thanks to people like David Attenborough and terrifying visions like this you know why I only really want to go to sea in something the size of a warship…
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