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The Whiteside Station massacre was a massacre that took place sometime before April 1847 at Whiteside Station (now Whiteside). Workers at the station poisoned flour with arsenic with the expectation that it would be eaten by Gubbi Gubbi people. It's estimated by the Centre for 21st Century Humanities that this resulted in the deaths of between 50 and 60 Indigenous people.[1]

"Some months" before the massacre, according to the Moreton Bay Courier, a hut-keeper at Whiteside Station had "received a blow with a waddy on the head" by an Aboriginal man. The hut-keeper became blind as a result of this. According to station workers, this was followed occasionally by hints that the local Indigenous people had threatened to attack the station and kill Captain Griffin (the station owner) and "all his people".[2]

A few days before April 13, a station worker named Brown reported to the Police Magistrate that when Captain Griffin's men left Whiteside Station for the lambing season, he and the remaining men created a mixture of arsenic and flour. They left it in the hut with the expectation that the local Indigenous people would find and consume it.

When the station workers returned to the hut sometime later, they found the poisoned flour had been eaten. Another witness and servant, Brady, testified under oath that only himself, Brown, the injured hut-keeper and another man named Coppin, had known about the flour. Brady stated that Coppin was the one who had poisoned the flour.

Captain Griffin quickly learned of the crime and proceeded to start travelling back to the station from Brisbane. The Police Magistrate also dispatched a constable to bring in the hut-keeper and Coppin. The constable faced no resistance from the hut-keeper and Coppin when he finally reached them. Both of them denied the allegations that the flour had been poisoned and would only admit that there had been flour, the not-poisoned kind, in the hut that day. They alleged that "the blacks themselves had mixed it in a dish in which there were some remains of arsenic that had been used in a preparation for the sheep."[3]

According to Coppin, the hut had been secured with a chain and lock, and the windows were fastened closed by nails. When the men returned to the hut, the door had been broken open. Coppin alleged that the Indigenous people had broken in and proceeded to make damper with the flour in a tin with only a small amount of arsenic in it.[2]

In an article published by The Australian on April 13, 1847, the writer stated, "To have left flour on the floor, and arsenic in the identical vessel in which flour is always thrown before it can be made into damper, was only another way of "doing the trick."" The Australian's article mentioned that the local newspaper, The Moreton Bay Courier, had not yet published any stories about the massacre but had quickly published the story of the threats made against Whiteside Station by the Indigenous people a few months prior. The writer stressed in the article that they had written an unbiased account of what happened at the station.[3] The Moreton Bay Courier published a response nearly a fortnight later accusing The Australian of defaming the station workers involved.[2]

References[]

  1. "Whiteside Station, Moreton Bay Pastoral District". The Centre for 21st Century Humanities. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Local intelligence: The blacks and their amateur protectors". The Moreton Bay Courier. 24 April 1847. Retrieved 4 March 2021 – via Trove.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Moreton Bay". The Australian. 13 April 1847. Retrieved 4 March 2021 – via Trove.

External links[]

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