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The Bodyke Evictions: Disturbances and Distress

The two-page laboratory report below, compiled for Colonel O'Callaghan in February 1895 by Walter Thorp, attributes the cause of death in the case of the particular bullock under examination to be due to arsenic poisoning.

[page 1]
Analysis of a sample of bullocks entrails
sent by E. C. Winder Esq for Col O'Callaghan
received 11 November 1895.

The viscera when delivered to me were in a sealed sack.
I found the seals intact and the contained viscera exhibited no signs of disease.
On examination of the rumen I found the mucous membrane intensely inflamed, so much that large patches had been detached during life and were mixed up in masses of the food.

Parts of the food exhibited the bleaching action of a mineral caustic.
I searched carefully for strange plants in the
food but found nothing except innocuous forage plants.
The symptoms exhibited by the rumen were such as could only be caused by an irritant
mineral poison with caustic properties
+ this poison must have been administered in
solution or in some form suitable for rapid
solution in the fluids of the stomach.


 


[page 2]
2 ½ lbs avoird of the contents of the stomach were
extracted with hydrochloric acid and the usual methods employed for the removal of organic matter.
The liquid extract was treated with washed
sulphuretted hydrogen gas (perfectly free from arsenic and prepared from pure materials) for 12 hours and the precipitate collected and purified from organic matter. The residue after purification was dissolved in hydrochloric acid and treated with sulphuretted hydrogen. The precipitate was then filtered, washed, and treated with ammonium carbonate solution which dissolved out the sulphide of arsenic. On adding hydrochloric acid to the ammonium carbonate extract sulphide of arsenic was again precipitated and was collected and weighed in the usual way.

It was found to weigh 0.77 grain equal to
0.62 grain oxide of arsenic. The sulphide when heated in a narrow tube gave a white sublimate of oxide of arsenic. The total amount of food in the stomach cannot have been less than 60 lbs and assuming the poison to have been fairly distributed amongst the mass there must have been at least 12.4 grains of oxide of arsenic present in the stomach at death. All the materials used in this investigation were specially tested and found free from arsenic.

W Thorpe
30 3 95


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Bodyke Evictions: Disturbances & Distress