Boiling the Billy near Kennedy's Camp K XXXVII

Kennedy Retrace Expedition

A three-week challenge that authentically retraces the route taken by the explorer Edmund Kennedy and his party of 12 that included the legendary Jacky Jacky, between Mount Garnet (K Camp XXIII) and Ferguson's Crossing north of Chillagoe. Total of approximately 240 km arranged as two discrete sections. This expedition is conducted annually in August -September as close to the anniversary of the original journey as weekends allow.

Edmund Kennedy was the second European overland explorer of North Queensland. Of twelve men that landed with Kennedy at Rockingham Bay, 9 perished and Kennedy died of spear wounds at the Escape River. Jacky Jacky, the Aboriginal guide, William Goddard and William Carron were the only survivors. Lean more of this tragedy during this trek.This trek retraces Kennedy’s route from near Mount Garnet (Camp XXIX) over the Great Dividing Range into the headwaters of Emu Creek There will be time to visit the Emuford Stamper Battery which remains in the turn of the century operating condition. We will pause to resupply and adjust our party at Emu Creek Station, the site of a landmark recorded on Kennedy’s maps and home to elusive rock wallabies.Then follow down the Walsh through the ironically named “Featherbed Ranges”, the walls of several enormous prehistoric calderas. Spend a rest day at some hot springs surrounded by rugged ranges. We will finish at Camp XLII, close to the Bourke Development Road, transfer to Chillagoe’s Observatory and Eco-lodge to settle back into civilization overnight. There will be an opportunity to explore some of Chillagoe’s sights. Celebrate at dinner. Transfer to Cairns the following morning.

Section One (9 days) retraces the route as authentically as possible and answers some of the questions regarding Kennedy's journey as most of his records were lost when he was killed resulting from an attack by hostile Aborigines near Cape York. This section follows mostly tracks and horse pads over the Great Dividing Range and down Emu Creek to Long Waterhole on Emu Creek Station, for a pause to resupply and change over trekkers. This adventure is conducted annually on the actual anniversary dates of the original 1848 expedition. 

Section Two (15 days) continues the retrace of Edmund Kennedy’s exploration route down the Walsh through the ironically named “Featherbed Range", gorges and Caldera, to look for signs of “Kennedy trees” and explore hot soda springs. We will camp on spectacular waterholes and enjoy the isolation. We will finish at Camp XLII with a modern development road nearby. We will then transfer to Chillagoe to settle back into civilisation with one night of cabin accommodation. There will be an opportunity to explore some of Chillagoe’s sights before returning to Cairns or the Atherton Tablelands the following morning (Monday).
We will identify a number of Kennedy’s campsites based on research compiled by Edgar Beale and copies of Kennedy's sketch maps.

We will carry a copy of William Carron's Journal and compare his notes to the area today.

Click on the pencil to see WildEx Calendar of Walks and Treks