FROM VICTORIA'S GOLD RUSHES to its bushrangers, English artist William Strutt's (1825-1915) paintings captured the state's colonial history in vivid scenes and sketches. Dr Karl takes a look at how the Bionic Ear – developed with the help of Australian expertise – helps nearly 300,000 people worldwide hear again. BEAUTIFULLY ATTUNED TO A life under water, sharks have patrolled the oceans for more than 400 million years. While more than 400 species of sharks are found worldwide today, about 170 of them inhabit Australian seas, from the world’s largest, the whale shark, to one of the smallest, the pygmy shark, and of course, the equally fascinating and fearsome great white. Sharks occur in depths up to 3000m in the world’s oceans for a variety of reasons, the most notable of which is food availability.
Great whites dive deeper than 1km and are seasonal visitors to temperate coastal waters, lured by the likelihood of a feed at seal and sea-lion rookeries and haul-out areas. Most sharks can’t accelerate quickly because of their tail shape, which is designed to push them towards the ocean floor as they hunt. Though it may seem like shark attacks are more common than in the past, the chances of an encounter are still quite rare. According to the Australian Shark Attack File, kept by researchers at Sydney's Taronga Conservation Society, there have been 877 shark attacks in Australia since records began in 1791, and 216 of these have been fatal.
In 2013 an international research team examined global shark encounter data and discovered that the term ‘shark attack’ is widely used to describe almost all interactions between humans and sharks, even those that involve no physical contact and do not lead to injury. Carcharodon megalodon, the largest shark ever to have lived (16 – 1.6 million years ago), is a close relative of the great white. RELATED ARTICLES Shark attacks in Australia: a timeline  10 myths about sharks 13 tips for avoiding a shark attack Fatal shore: Why so many shark attacks?
William arrived at Melbourne in 1850 and began work as an illustrator painting portraits of people such as explorer Robert O'Hara Burke, who's famous expedition with William John Wills ended in their tragic deaths.
The Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, is particular hotspot of shark diversity in Australia with more than 50 species. In general, the least threatening species to humans live on the ocean floor and are smaller animals.
Fossil evidence suggests it grew to a length of 16m, had jaws that were more than 2m wide and sported teeth measuring up to 21cm. In comparison, the great white grows to 6m, weighs up to 2.2 tonnes and has 5cm-long teeth.
It favours cool, shallow, temperate seas, and is most commonly found in southern Australian waters from Exmouth, WA, to southern Queensland. Highly migratory and found in tropical and subtropical oceans worldwide, it appears alone or in large groups.

Frequently seen by divers in rocky gullies and caves throughout its range – south from the Queensland-NSW border to the Houtman Abrolhos, WA, including Tasmania – it feeds at night on starfish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and molluscs. It’s widespread and common in tropical and temperate waters worldwide; its Australian range stretches from Broome, WA, to Brisbane, Queensland, including Tasmania. Named for the stripes on juveniles, which morph to spots in adulthood, it’s often seen by divers resting on the sea floor and propped up on its pectoral fins, facing into the current. A true scavenger, it eats turtles, seals, whales, jellyfish and stingrays, plus livestock and people unlucky enough to fall overboard.
Although fairly common and wideranging in the tropics, it is fished and has a long gestation time, making it potentially vulnerable.
It can penetrate freshwater river systems and has been known to take cattle, dogs and people. It feeds on fish, squid and the occasional sea snake throughout its range, which takes in southern Australia from Jurien Bay, WA, to Coffs Harbour, NSW. While few attacks on humans have been recorded, the great hammerhead is considered dangerous.
This relatively common and hardy species is not intentionally targeted by commerical fishermen or anglers, and isn’t common as bycatch, reef invertebrates and small fish.
An open-ocean dweller, it spends its daylight hours in deep water (to depths of 1520m) and migrates after sunset to the surface in pursuit of bony fish, cephalopods and crustaceans. William illustrated the scenes around Burke's demise in the epic 'The burial of Burke' (1911). Larger sharks, including great whites, tiger sharks and whale sharks, travel more widely and have greater depth range in the water column.
Some species, such as thresher sharks, employ their speed and agility in unusual methods of attack.
Little is known about when and where some sharks reproduce, but a great white nursery was recently found near Port Stephens in NSW. Nevertheless, in a 10-month period up to July 2012, five people were likely killed by great white sharks off the coast of WA – enough to have the region dubbed the ‘shark attack capital’ of the world. It filterfeeds on plankton, but also eats prawns, crabs, schooling fish and occasionally tuna and squid. It eats gastropods, crustaceans and fish, and is found in Australian waters north from Sydney around to Port Gregory, WA. It’s found in northern Australian waters from Shark Bay, WA, to Brisbane, Queensland, and eats reef fish, crustaceans and squid. It feeds on fish, other sharks, crustaceans and cephalopods, but is best known for its appetite for rays, which it pins to the sea floor with its head before taking a bite out of the ray’s wing, incapacitating it.

In Australian waters, it’s found in tropical and warm-temperate seas from Perth to Rowley Shoals, west of Broome, WA. He also recorded many historical events such as Victoria becoming a separate state and the devastating Victorian bushfire on Black Thursday in 1851. Largely due to over-fishing, more than 200 shark species are currently listed as threatened, and 50 as vulnerable, by the IUCN. The largest recorded great white was caught in 1978 off the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, roughly 1500km from Lisbon. Other sharks are known to be fantastic navigators that can migrate great distances across the world's oceans. On a worldwide scale there had been 2463 confirmed, unprovoked shark attacks between 1580 and 2011. The reasons are unclear, but other experts argue humans are to blame for an increase in attacks. RearingThe caterpillars are easy to rear in captivity but those overwintering are best kept outside in a sheltered place with some leaf litter in which they can later spin their cocoon.Safety precautions when moving hairy caterpillarsThe hairs of some caterpillars can cause skin irritation.
Australia is the nation with the second highest number of shark attacks (after the US) and the highest number of fatalities (217). If you do encounter a shark, there are steps you can take to minimise the risk of being attacked. The exhibition is the first retrospectives of William's work in Melbourne, it includes pop-up talks of three of his well-known paintings; 'Bushrangers' (1887), 'The burial of Burke' (1911) and 'Black Thursday' (1864). Some sharks are unable to distinguish between colours, seeing the world in shades of grey and green, say researchers at the University of Western Australia. Sometimes culls of sharks are mooted after attacks, but they have little effect on minimising the threat and provoke outrage from conservationists. Monochromatic vision is rare among land species, because colour vision is a tool for survival in terrestrial habitats. In other cases shark repellents, based on reactions to smells tastes and sounds have been developed. But it is less important in the marine environment, where colours are progressively filtered out at depth and survival depends on distinguishing contrasts and shadows to determine whether a shape in the gloom is prey or predator.

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