In addition to the brief account which already forms part of the Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, I have thought it would add to the interest of this work and the gratification of its readers, were I to give under a distinct head a detailed history of the exploring expedition conducted by the late Mr. Edmund B. Kennedy, derived from a pamphlet printed in Sydney, and scarcely procurable in this country. It includes the interesting narrative of Mr. W. Carron, the botanist attached to the expedition in question; also the statements of the aboriginal black who witnessed the death of his gallant master—of Dr. Vallack who took an active part in rescuing the survivors—and of Mr. T.B. Simpson who proceeded in search of the remainder of the party, whose fate was still in a measure uncertain, and succeeded in recovering some of Mr. Kennedy’s papers.
We left Sydney on the 29th of April, 1848, in the barque Tam O’Shanter (Captain Merionberg) in company with H.M.S. Rattlesnake.
Our party consisted of the following persons: Mr. E.B. Kennedy (leader), Mr. W. Carron (botanist), Mr. T. Wall (naturalist), Mr. C. Niblet (storekeeper), James Luff, Edward Taylor, and William Costigan (carters), Edward Carpenter (shepherd), William Goddard, Thomas Mitchell, John Douglas, Dennis Dunn (labourers), and Jackey-Jackey, an aboriginal native of the Patrick’s Plains tribe, of the Hunter River district.
Our supplies and equipment for the journey had been most fully considered, and were estimated by Mr. Kennedy as amply sufficient for a journey so short as what we then anticipated. Our livestock consisted of twenty-eight horses, one hundred sheep, three kangaroo dogs, and one sheep dog. Our dry provisions comprised one ton of flour, ninety pounds of tea, and six hundred pounds of sugar. Besides these necessary supplies for subsistence on the road, we took with us twenty-four pack-saddles, one heavy square cart, two spring carts, with harness for nine horses, four tents, a canvas sheepfold, twenty-two pounds gunpowder, one hundred and thirty pounds shot, a quarter cask of ammunition, twenty-eight tether ropes (each twenty-one yards long) forty hobble chains and straps, together with boxes, paper, etc., for preserving specimens, firearms, cloaks, blankets, tomahawks, and other minor requisites for such an expedition, not forgetting a supply of fish-hooks and other small articles, as presents for the natives.
After a tedious passage of twenty-two days, we arrived at Rockingham Bay on the 21st May; and even here, at the very starting point of our journey, those unforeseen difficulties began to arise, which led us subsequently to hardships so great and calamities so fatal.