Site Name Beveridge Island
Aboriginal Place Name
Language Group Wemba Wemba or Wadi Wadi
Colony PPD
Present State/Territory VIC
Police District
Coordinates (imprecise to approx. 250m) -35.221,143.559,0
Date Between 1 Jun 1848 and 30 Jun 1848
Attack Time
Aboriginal People Killed 7
Aboriginal People Killed Notes Killed: M 7 to 8 people F; Probable: M F; Possible: M F; Wounded: M F
Non-Aboriginal People Killed 0
Non-Aboriginal People Killed Notes Killed:M F;Wounded:M F
Attacker Category White men
Attacker Details White men at a place called Bapparrinok.
Type Of Motive
Weapons Used Poison
Narrative In June/July 1848, ugly rumours began to spread that up to twenty Aborigines had been poisoned on the Beveridge family's run between today's Swan Hill and Piangil. The original information came from a shearer on the Murray, who, according to Assistant Protector Parker, "stated in a neighbouring woolshed that a Mr Beveridge had 'settled' the blacks by leaving a quantity of poisoned flour in their way, and that numbers had been killed by it." Parker despatched some of Aboriginal men at his Station to the junction of the Murray and Loddon Rivers "to make enquiries". They returned with almost identical information from Aborigines on Edward Curr's and Archibald Campbell's runs: "they were informed that seven or eight natives had been destroyed." The story fitted fairly precisely with rumours heard by Dr James Horburgh at Goulburn River Aboriginal Station. Horsburgh's opinion was that the Aborigines had either died of an influenza epidemic sweeping the Murray Valley, or that the story was "an imagination of the brain of our worthy Seymour correspondent of the Argus." Protector Parker was commissioned to obtain further evidence if he could. In February 1849 he was told by Aborigines from Lake Bael Bael that "a number of the blacks of Tarrkgoonder tribe [the 'reed-spear tribe' of the lower Murray] have been poisoned some months since by white men at a place called Bapparrinok". Similar stories came from other sources which Parker did not disclose. When La Trobe pressed Chief Protector Robinson for action, Robinson replied that the rumours seemed "too vague to enable the Government to take any proceedings in the case." When La Trobe pressed for more information to the Bench of Magistrates at Moulamein, north-east of Swan Hill, on the Sydney side of the Murray River, Patrick Brougham JP, replied that he "certainly some months ago heard a report of the same [alleged poisoning], but took no notice of it, as groundless rumours have frequently been spread of natives having been killed."
Sources Cannon 1990: 230-231; Clark ID 1995: 183 (Sources PDF)
Corroboration Rating *