By HUGH KEARNEY
AN 89-year-old Tweed man has died after being bitten by a brown snake.
Fred Brooks, known far and wide for his abilities as a water diviner, died in The Tweed Hospital on Tuesday night after being attacked by the snake in his vegetable patch earlier that morning.
Mr Brooks' son Geoff said his mother Irene had come into town and his father was alone at his Brooks Road, Kynnumboon, home when he was bitten.
"He went to the vege garden about 9 o'clock to pick a cabbage and the snake bit him on the right hand when he bent down to remove the netting or cut the cabbage," Geoff Brooks said.
"He killed the snake then went inside and called triple-0 emergency number and the ambulance came and took him to Murwillumbah Hospital."
Geoff said his father was treated with brown snake anti-venom and appeared to be recovering.
"Mum spoke to dad on the phone and he told her he was feeling fine and thought he would be home by 5 o'clock," Geoff said.
"Later in the afternoon they rang back to say he had deteriorated and they wanted to move him to Tweed Heads.
"We saw him as they put him in the ambulance to go to Tweed, and that was the last time."
Mr Brooks said his father died from a brain haemorrhage at around 9.20pm on Tuesday night.
He described his father as a quiet, humble man who stood up for what he believed in and was always ready to help others.
"Many people around the district relied on him to find water for them, and he has had something to do with most of the bores drilled around here," Geoff said.
"He was always getting phone calls to find water and he did his last job only last Saturday."
Mr Brooks had been a dairy farmer and house painter during his working life.
Geoff Brooks said his father had also been a long-time volunteer at the Tweed Tourist Information Centre, attending every Friday he could since the days when John Constable was the centre manager.
In July he attended the 75th anniversary of Murwillumbah High School as one of its original intake of students in 1929.
He was a long-serving member and local preacher of the Murwillumbah Uniting Church.
He is survived by his wife Irene and children Mervyn, Geoff, Lynette, Neville and Annette, and brother Ray Brooks.