author was closely associated with this case as an expert
witness. Here is the story:
17th April 1935, Albery Edward Hobson left a bait for sharks
about a mile off Coogee beach, New South Wales. Next morning he
found that he had hooked a small shark but there was only a portion
of it left. Most of it had been eaten by a large tiger shark about 14 feet
long which was tangled up in the line. Hobson secured this shark and
towed it to the beach, where he and his brother decided to place it in
the Coogee Aquarium for public exhibition.
18th April people crowded into the aquarium to see the monster.
Fresh sea water was pumped into the pool daily and the captive was fed
on mackerel. For several days it ate everything thrown to it. It then went
into a starvation diet and on the 24th April it seemed irritable and out of
day some strange things happened. The events were witnessed by a
small crowd of 14 persons, amongst whom was Narcisse Leo Young, a
proof reader on the Sydney Morning Herald. Young later at the police
court described what happened. The slow-moving shark, he said, suddenly
increased it's pace. It bumped hard against the side of the pool then swam
towards the shallow end where it appeared to turn in a sort of irregular
circle two or three times. Young was about 10 to 15 feet away from the
shark. He noticed near it what looked like a brown scum with a
frightful smell. He then saw the shark regurgitate a human arm.
Hobson corroborated this. He said that he noticed the shark very
irritable and sick about 4:30 pm. The water around it suddenly became
discolored. When it cleared, he saw floating tin the water a bird, a rat, a lot
of slime and a portion of a human arm with a piece of rope attached to it.
police took the arm to the city morgue. Next day I was asked by the
Government Medical officer , Dr. Arthur Palmer, to call in at the morgue
and examine it with him. Together we studied it. It was a whole arm-forearm
and hand-of a very muscular man with a slightly faded tattoo of two boxers
shaping up to each other on the forearm. It had a piece of rope about 4 feet
6 inches long tied in two half hitches around the wrist. In front of the arm
above the elbow was a large, straight gash.
was my opinion that the arm had not been bitten from the body by the
shark because it had been cleanly disarticulated at the shoulder joint.
There were no ragged edges to the flesh wound or marks of a shark's teeth
on the exposed cartilage of the joint. The arm had obviously been removed
with a knife. It had not been removed surgically, as there was no allowance
for the usual skin flaps a surgeon would use. This also rules out a theory
that the most probable source of the arm was from the body of a soldier
that had committed suicide some days previously. by throwing himself into
the sea over a sheer rock precipice known as The Gap.
was decided that inquiries should be made to see if an arm had been
removed for anatomical dissection from the Anatomy School, or from a
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