Eric Worrell

Worrell, Eric (1924-1987) was an Australian naturalist who established the Australian Eeptile Park in Gos-ford, New South Wales, Australia, in 1960. The park houses Australia's largest collection of native reptiles. Many of the poisonous snakes housed at the park are regularly milked (have their venom extracted) and the venom is sent to the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories. The venom is used in the manufacture of antivenins, antidotes for treating poisonous snakebites.

Worrell was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, in 1924. He had an early interest in animals. He later lived for a while in the Northern Territory studying wildlife, giving him a lifelong love for the northern wilderness.

In 1948, Worrell opened his first tourist attraction, The Ocean Beach Aquarium, at Umina on the New South Wales Central Coast. In 1958, the Ocean Beach Aquarium moved and became the Australian Reptile Park.

In 1972, the Australian Reptile Park became the first park in Australia to breed Australian cassowaries. The park also rescued the parma wallaby from extinction on Australia's mainland. In 1973, it became the first and only park in Australia to breed American alligators and New Guinea ground possums.

Worrell's books include Dangerous Snakes of Australia and New Guinea (first published as Dangerous Snakes of Australia, 1952), subtitled “a handbook for bushmen, bushwalkers, mission workers, servicemen, boy scouts, migrants, medical practitioners, and naturalists on the identification and venoms of Australian snakes, with directions for first-aid treatment of snake-bite and the use of antivenenes.” He also wrote Reptiles of Australia (1963).

In 1987, he died of a heart attack at age 62.