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Edmund Kennedy: Australian Explorer

Edmund Kennedy routesEdmund Kennedy (1818-1848) was an explorer and the Assistant-Surveyor of New South Wales, Australia. Kennedy explored the interior of Queensland, Australia, including the Thomson River, the Barcoo River, Cooper's Creek, and the Cape York Peninsula.

First Expedition: Kennedy was born on September 5, 1818, on the Island of Guernsey, in the Channel Islands. He emigrated from England to Sydney, Australia in 1840, becoming a land surveyor. His was chosen to be on Thomas Livingston Mitchell's expedition to the interior of Queensland. They left in November, 1845, to find an overland route to the Gulf of Carpenteria. The expedition failed, but they did discover the Victoria Stream (named by Mitchell), and returned to Sydney in January, 1847.

Second Expedition: In 1847, Kennedy led an expedition to determine whether the Victoria Stream led north to the Gulf of Carpenteria. The expedition left on March 13, 1847, and followed the stream north to Cooper's Creek, which meandered into the desert (and did not go to the sea). Kennedy renamed the Victoria Stream, calling it the Barcoo. The expedition returned to Sydney on February 7, 1848.

Last Expedition: On his last expedition, Kennedy was sent to the north of Australia (to the east side of the York Peninsula at Rockingham Bay) to attack the problem again (finding an overland route from the Gulf of Carpenteria to Sydney) from the other side. The expedition left on April 28, 1848, and encountered terrible terrain (mangrove swamps backed by mountains) that made it almost impossible to travel. After two months, they had only traveled 20 miles into the interior! The expedition separated into two groups. One group stayed behind (all but two of the men in this group eventually starved to death), and the other group went north to meet the supply ship (Kennedy was in this group). On the way to the ship, one man shot himself and could not continue, so two men were left to help him (they all died). 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 in 1848 - he was only 20 miles from the ship. Jackey Jackey made it to the supply ship alone on December 23, 1848.

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