Position: Lab Assistant
Year: 2006 - 2007
My interest in reptiles was sparked off by a school visit from local legend George Cann when I was in kindergarten in 1978. He showed us a variety of local reptiles and inspired me to look under rocks and rubbish in search of our reptilian gems (which also sparked an interest in arachnids and insects). As I got older interests changed, I stopped looking for animals and followed different teenage paths. On completing my HSC I decided against uni and entered the workforce doing a variety of jobs from the public service to factory shift work. Eventually my interest in reptiles was rekindled and I kept many local species like diamond pythons, snake-necked turtles, garden skinks, blue tongues, jackys and geckoes as well as redbacks, funnelwebs and centipedes.
During a lengthy stint as a landscape labourer I decided I needed to get out of this rut and into a career I was passionate about. I became a volunteer at the Australian Reptile Parks (ARP) Spiderworld exhibit where I worked on venom extraction on Sydney Funnelwebs and general husbandry of the Parks native spiders and exotic giant tarantulas. The “foot in the door” allowed me to do the Zookeeping course at TAFE. Eventually I became a casual at the ARP and over the four years I was there I worked within the Reptile Section as well as Spiderworld.
Through dedication and persistence I was recommended to Rick Shine by ARP management and am now an Animal Attendant/Lab Assistant at Sydney Uni and look forward to a long career working with reptiles and other animals.