|Narrative|| According to Michael Cannon (1990, p. 231), in June/July 1848, ‘ugly rumours began to spread that up to twenty natives 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 wool shed 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 cited in Cannon 1990, p.231). ‘Parker despatched some of his Station blacks to the junction of the Loddon and Murray to “make enquiries”. They returned with almost identical information from blacks on Edward Curr’s and Archibald Campbell’s runs: “they were informed that seven or eight natives had been destroyed” (Cannon 1990, p.231).
The story fitted fairly precisely with rumours heard by Dr James Horsburgh at Goulburn River Aboriginal Station. … Parker was commissioned to obtain further evidence if he could. In February 1849 he was told by natives 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” (Parker cited in Cannon 1990, p. 231). 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”‘(Brougham cited in Cannon 1990, p. 231).