DescriptionAbout the Book
Narrative of an expedition undertaken for the exploration of the country lying between Rockingham Bay and Cape York
Edmund Besley Court Kennedy (5 September 1818 – 23 December 1848) was an explorer in Australia in the mid nineteenth century. He was the Assistant-Surveyor of New South Wales, working with Sir Thomas Mitchell. Kennedy explored the interior of Queensland and northern New South Wales, including the Thomson River, the Barcoo River, Cooper Creek, and Cape York Peninsula.
Kennedy was born on 5 September 1818 on Guernsey in the Channel Islands. He emigrated from England to New South Wales in 1840 becoming a surveyor. Kennedy died in December 1848 after being speared by Aborigines in far north Queensland near Cape York.
In 1847 Kennedy led an expedition to discover whether the Victoria Stream led north to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The expedition left on 13 March 1847 and followed the river north to Cooper Creek, which flowed into the desert, proving it was not linked to the Gulf of Carpentaria . Kennedy renamed the Victoria Stream, calling it the Barcoo River. The expedition returned to Sydney on 7 February 1848.
On his last expedition, Kennedy was sent to the north of Australia to attack the problem of finding an overland router from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Sydney again.
On 29 April 1848 Edmund Kennedy and his men sailed out of Sydney Harbour in the barque Tam O' Shanter in company with the survey ship HMS Rattlesnake, for the journey to Rockingham Bay. Once landed, the party encountered terrible terrain such as mangrove swamps, mountains, lagoons, rivers and thick rainforest that made it almost impossible to travel. After two months, they had only travelled about 20 miles into the interior.
The expedition separated into two groups. One group stayed behind, and the other group went north to meet the supply ship. On the way to the ship, one man shot himself and could not continue, so two men were left to help him. Kennedy and a young aboriginal man in the expedition called Jackey Jackey went on to try to find the ship. Kennedy was killed by aborigines near Cape York. He was only 20 miles from the ship. Jackey Jackey made it to the supply ship alone on 23 December 1848. Jackey Jackey held Kennedy in his arms as he died before showing the sailors where Edmund lay, then sailed back home.
About the Author
William Carron, 1821-1876
Botanist and explorer. Early in 1848 the new director of the Botanic Gardens, Charles Moore, suggested that Carron should accompany Edmund Kennedy's expedition as botanist. Accordingly Carron left Sydney on 29 April in the Tam o' Shanter with the party of thirteen bound for Rockingham Bay, Queensland. Only three survived the exploration of Cape York Peninsula: Carron, the convict William Goddard and the Aboriginal Jackey Jackey.