• Edmund Besley Kennedy papers

  • Photographs of map remnants of "Mr Kennedy's sketches from camp VIII to camp LXXXII" Includes latitudes taken by Kennedy on his expedition from Rockingham Bay to Cape York in 1848.

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    State Library Qld
Edmund Besley Court Kennedy Papers

After emigrating to Sydney in 1840 and joining the Surveyor-General’s department, Edmund Kennedy was appointed second-in-command of Sir Thomas Mitchell’s expedition into the northern districts of the colony in 1845-1846.  They trekked as far north as the Suttor River, where they discovered valuable grazing land.  The following year Kennedy headed an expedition which clarified a number of Mitchell’s earlier assumptions, and in 1848 he was chosen to lead an expedition to north-east Queensland for the purpose of locating possible coaling stations for steamships along the coast. Landing at Rockingham Bay in May 1848, Kennedy’s party was immediately confronted by impassable swamps and steep jungle=clad ranges.  It was five months before Kennedy and his men managed to find a route inland and travel north where they were able to descend the northern foothills of the Great Dividing Range near Weymouth Bay. With many of his party ill, Kennedy left eight men at Weymouth Bay and continued north with four others, one of whom was an Aborigine from the Hunter Valley district of New South Wales known as Jackey Jackey. Near the Shelburne River, one of his European companions accidentally wounded himself with a firearm. Leaving the two others to provide assistance, Kennedy and Jackey Jackey hastened north in the hope of reaching a supply vessel at the pre-arranged rendezvous near the tip of Cape York. At the Escape River, almost within sight of their goal, the pair was surrounded by hostile Aborigines and Kennedy was mortally wounded by spears. Jackey Jackey escaped to reach the rendezvous two weeks later. No trace was found of the men at Shelburne River, and there were only two survivors at Weymouth Bay. Kennedy’s papers were located the following year by the crew of a government-chartered vessel.


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