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Venom : The heroic search for Australia's deadliest snake - Brendan James Murray


The heroic search for Australia's deadliest snake

Paperback Published: 1st September 2017
ISBN: 9781760405694
Number Of Pages: 398

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This historic search for Australia’s deadliest snake. By one of Australia’s best and brightest young authors, this is a gripping, incandescent tale of heroism and tragedy, offering the glimmering possibility of reconciliation.

In the early years of the twentieth century, an awareness was growing among European Australians of an unexpected threat, one that seemed the very embodiment of the dark, ominous power of the Australian bush. To the Indigenous people of the Guugu Yimithirr nation, it was nguman; to the whites it was the taipan, an eight foot, lightning fast venomous snake whose bite meant certain death.

Venom is an examination of European settlers’ troubled and often antagonistic relationship with the land, seen through the lens of the desperate scramble for an antivenom, and highlighted by the story of George Rosendale, a taipan bite victim of the Guugu Yimithirr nation.

About the Author

Brendan James Murray lives with his partner, Greta, on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and teaches in a large government school. His first book was The Drowned Man: A True Story of Life, Death and Murder on HMAS Australia.

Industry Reviews

"It was said to be a giant, red-eyed, copper-coloured serpent that could lash out with the ferocity of a crocodile. Until the Wikmunkan people of the Cape York Peninsula lead naturalist Donald Thomson to a living speciman in 1933, the reptile was thought to be a myth. Thomson published a scientific paper about the discovery of the taipan but, as Brendan James Murray points out, it was hardly a discovery, more a "translation into white mythology of what Wikmunkan people and others had always understood." This dual perspective makes Venom much more than a tense, vividly written human drama about the race to make an antivenom for one of the most deadly snakes in the world. Through the remarkable survival story of Indigenous boy George Rosendale, Murray subtly traces the venom unleashed by European settlers themselves." --Sydney Morning Herald

"By one of Australia's best and brightest young authors, this is a gripping tale of heroism and tragedy, offering the glimmering possibility of reconciliation." --Creative Spirits

"The way Murray writes history instantly brings to mind contemporaries such as Peter Fitzsimons, Grantlee Kieza, and Julia Baird. Not only has he picked an admittedly unusual entry point into Australian social and history; he has done so with a novelist's flair. These days, the best kind of history writing engages the reader's intellectual curiosity as well as their yearning for story and narrative. It's the subject matter--venom and poisonous snakes and Australia's indigenous and colonial history--that draws the reader in." --Better Reading

"Packed with research and simply stunning writing. . . . Combining thoughtful writing with almost thriller-like pacing, and packed with extensive and excellent research, the book also reveals a surprisingly emotional side, as driven science meets very human grief." --The AU Review

It is highly readable, informative and important


I have learnt a lot about the development of understanding and production of anti enemies for Australia's deadlest snakes and also many historical interactions between Indigenous Australians, past governments and new Australians.

Port stephens


Really interesting book


I don't usually read books properly. I just open sections randomly and read in no particular order until I finally make it through the entire book. This book was different. I started my usual way and after an hour went back to the start and read from the beginning to end. I've read it twice since and every so often I pick it up and read snippets.



Excellent read - Australian taipans and people


A great read, even though not what I was expecting. I was expecting something more technical, but in this book the author has delved more into the characters involved with Australia's deadly taipan, especially in the early days (1950s) when people still had a lot to learn about this highly aggressive, fast, powerful, and very dangerous snake. Author Brendan James Murray gets inside the minds of some of Australia's earlier amateur herpetologists who were passionate about reptiles, especially snakes. We learn about the taipan's victims as Queensland's cane fields expanded, and the first efforts to catch this elusive snake in attempts to get venom samples to CSL's laboratory, to create a new anti-venom. Hard to put down - nearly finished. * This review is written in memory of an excellent amateur herpetologist, snake-catcher, and good friend, who was killed by a snake in February of this year (2018).

Euroa, Australia


Excellent book


Loved the book .

Merriwa Australia


Well worth reading on Australian History for an antivenom


Great book .

Hunter Valley Australia



5.0 5


ISBN: 9781760405694
ISBN-10: 1760405698
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 398
Published: 1st September 2017
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.54

Earn 52 Qantas Points
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