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This Day in History

Australian Explorers

Thursday, November 9, 1848. :   After a gruelling five-month journey through thick rainforest, Edmund Kennedy finally reaches Weymouth Bay in North Queensland.

     Edmund Kennedy was born in 1818 on Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands of the English channel. As a surveyor, he arrived in Sydney in 1840 where he joined the Surveyor-General's Department as assistant to Sir Thomas Mitchell. In 1845, he accompanied Mitchell on an expedition into the interior of Queensland (then still part of New South Wales), and two years later led another expedition through central Queensland, tracing the course of the Victoria River, later renamed the Barcoo.

In 1848 Kennedy left Rockingham Bay, north of Townsville, with 12 other men to travel to Cape York, intending to map the eastern coast of north Queensland. Dense rainforest and the barrier of the Great Dividing Range made the journey extremely difficult. By the time Kennedy's party reached Weymouth Bay on 9 November 1848, they were starving and exhausted. Kennedy left eight sick men and two horses at Weymouth Bay before continuing on with three white men and a loyal Aborigine named Jacky-Jacky.

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