Although Australian snakes can be very venomous, comparatively little is known about the protein compositions of venoms from Australian snakes, compared to those of Asia and America. Wide access to antivenom and adequate medical care has made deaths exceedingly rare with only a few fatalities each year. Australian snakes are known to possess potent venom: approximately 5 of the world's top 10 drop for drop most venomous snakes, that have been tested by LD50 in mice, inhabit the continent. However, it must also be pointed out that Australian venomous snakes tend to have smaller venom yields and fang lengths when compared with venomous snakes from other continents and that the test involving drop for drop toxicity to mice may not represent drop for drop toxicity to other animals (including humans).
The estimated incidence of snakebites annually in Australia is between 3 and 18 per 100,000 with an average mortality rate of 0.03 per 100,000 per year. Between 1979 and 1998 there were 53 deaths from snakes, according to data obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Between 1942 and 1950 there were 56 deaths from snakebite recorded in Australia. Of 28 deaths in the 1945-49 period, 18 occurred in Queensland, 6 in New South Wales, 3 in Western Australia and 1 in Tasmania. A Queensland government occupational health publication says that "Snakes are not usually aggressive and do not seek confrontation with humans but may retaliate if provoked. The important thing to remember is to never attempt to catch or kill a snake – most snake bites occur when people are trying to do this."
A data visualization about fatal snake bites in Australia since 1986 (showing year, age/gender of victim, location and snake type)
Below is a list of fatal snake bites that occurred in Australia in reverse chronological order. The list omits snake bite-related deaths where the actual cause of death was not an unprovoked snake bite. Omitted incidents include cases where someone died from falling after receiving a bite, or where a person deliberately provoked or handled a snake.
Pelion Hut, Overland Track, Tasmania Miss Dorothy Vera Townson, 1948, 39 y.o. She had been bitten twice on the lower right leg by a snake, believed to be a tiger snake, about 11.30 am on Wednesday. The snake hung on and bruised her leg after the second strike. The punctures were lacerated and tourniquets applied, but the treatment was ineffective, and Miss Townson died at 4.30 am on Thursday. http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/26445033