"Dangerous Snakes of Victoria" wall chart, second edition, indicated by Professor Sir Frederick McCoy. Depicts illustrations of Tiger Snake (Hoplocephalus curtus), Copper-headed Snake (Hoplocephalus superbus), Brown Snake (Diemenia superciliosa) and Death Adder (Acanthophis antarcticus).
As well as the advancement of science, 19th century museums aspired to contribute to the moral education and material betterment of their constituents. Frederick McCoy, director of the National Museum of Victoria, exercised authority on behalf of the government, providing answers to practical questions for the benefit of the settlers. Instruction came in the form of displays at the museums and publications, as well as educational posters like this one.
Australian snakes were rightly feared for their deadly venom. The majority of colonists, having arrived from countries where snakes were a rarity, were fearful of their prevalence and ferocity. This Dangerous Snakes of Victoria poster was created by the Museum with the backing of the Education Department to educate and improve awareness in the community. However, it may well have caused consternation. It was distributed to every school and railway station from Melbourne to cities and towns across the colony.