FROM THE VAULT – Crocodile Attack, 1932

The snared crocodile, thought to be the one that took the little Betty Doherty, is trapped and taken to Halifax by motor lorry so that its stomach contents can be examined for remains of the child. Constable George Schnitzerling stands at the crocodile’s head and Constable Jens Fredericksen stands at the tail, January 17, 1932.

The snared crocodile, thought to be the one that took the little Betty Doherty, is trapped and taken to Halifax by motor lorry so that its stomach contents can be examined for remains of the child. Constable George Schnitzerling stands at the crocodile’s head and Constable Jens Fredericksen stands at the tail, January 17, 1932.

On Tuesday January 5, 1932, four-year-old Betty Doherty was taken by 4 meter crocodile as she and her four siblings were playing near their home on the banks of the Seymour River, about 12 kilometers east of Halifax.

Newspaper accounts say that the Doherty children were playing on the banks of the river near their home, when the crocodile suddenly appeared. 12 year old John Doherty carried one child to safety, and was carrying Betty from the danger zone when the reptile grasped the child’s legs in its jaws, and tore her from her brother’s grasp. John ran after Betty and caught her by the shoulders and bravely tried to save her, but the crocodile was too strong and hauled the baby into the water and took her beneath the surface. The distraught boy ran home and to tell his father of the terrible event.

Mr. Doherty immediately informed the Halifax police of the tragedy, and officers Acting Sergeant Frank Conaty along with Constables George Schnitzerling; Jens Fredericksen and Arnold Still, made an extensive search of the water and banks on the day of the crocodile attack and for several days afterwards, but failed to find any trace of the child.

The hunters who snared the crocodile, demonstrate the size of the beast, January 17, 1932.

The hunters who snared the crocodile, demonstrate the size of the beast, January 17, 1932.

A week after the attack, hunters Arthur Shaw, Bertie Carr and Jack Taylor, were hired to lay three snares along the river bank. On January 17, the crocodile believed to have taken Betty Doherty, was trapped about 100 yards south of the scene of the tragedy. Three Halifax police officers and the hunters took the crocodile by motor lorry to Halifax so that the stomach contents could be examined. No human remains were found in the crocodile’s stomach and the body of Betty Doherty was never found.

Constable George Schnitzerling, 2nd from left, with the three hunters, Arthur Shaw (1st left), Bertie Carr (3rd left) and Jack Taylor (right), whose snares captured the crocodile, January 17, 1932.

Constable George Schnitzerling, 2nd from left, with the three hunters, Arthur Shaw (1st left), Bertie Carr (3rd left) and Jack Taylor (right), whose snares captured the crocodile, January 17, 1932.

In June 1932, John Patrick Doherty received a Bronze Medal for bravery from the Royal Humane Society of Australia, for trying to save the life of his sister.

________________________________

This information has been supplied by the Queensland Police Museum from the best resources available at the time of writing. Contact: E: [email protected]

The Police Museum is open 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 3pm on the last Sunday of the month (Feb-Nov) and is located on the ground floor of Police Headquarters at 200 Roma Street.

FROM THE VAULT: Crocodile Attack, 1932”, by the Queensland Police Service is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (BY) 2.5 Australia Licence. Permissions may be available beyond the scope of this licence. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/au/legalcode

This entry was posted in FROM the VAULT, General History. Bookmark the permalink.

Sign up for myPolice Museum

Delivery


2014 SUNDAY LECTURE SERIES

July 27
The Narella Street Tragedy
11.00-12.30

August 31
Bloodstain Pattern Analysis
11.00-12.30

September 28
Fingerprints - A unique identification method
11.00-12.30

October
No lecture scheduled due to G20

November 30 - Note start time
Big Brother
10.00-12.30