Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Kennedy, Edmund B.

KENNEDY, EDMUND B. (d. 1848), Australian explorer, was appointed a government surveyor in New South Wales in August 1840. He was second in command of the last exploring expedition conducted by Sir Thomas Livingstone Mitchell [q. v.] in 1846 in search of a route from Sydney to the Gulf of Carpentaria (cf. Mitchell, Journal of an Expedition in Tropical Australia, 1848). In March 1847 Kennedy was sent to trace the Victoria river, which was the furthest point touched by Mitchell's expedition. Starting from Sydney with eight mounted men with led horses, and two carts with eight months' provisions, he reached Mitchell's furthest point during an exceptionally dry season, descended the Thomson, and followed the Victoria until it lost itself in the ‘stony desert’ of Sturt. Kennedy then turned back and reached Sydney before the end of the year. Another stream having been named the Victoria, Kennedy called Mitchell's Victoria by its native name, the Barcoo, under which it now appears in most maps. The narrative of this journey was published in the ‘Journal of the Royal Geographical Society,’ London, for 1852, xxii. 228–80. In January 1848 Kennedy started on his last expedition for the exploration of Cape York peninsula. The party, consisting of nine men, with horses, and a native called Jackey Jackey, set out from Rockingham Bay, and by skirting the mountainous river-intersected coast-line nearly succeeded in turning the northernmost point in Torres Straits. Kennedy had to leave six of his men sick at Weymouth Bay. On the subsequent journey one white man shot himself accidentally, and the two others had to be left to tend him. Kennedy continued his journey with Jackey, hoping to reach a vessel in Albany Bay. He was attacked and speared by natives on the way. He died 13 Dec. 1848 in the arms of the faithful Jackey, who thirteen days afterwards brought the tidings to the steamer Ariel in Albany Bay. Of the other members of the expedition three only survived to return to Sydney. A narrative of the journey by one of them, Mr. Carron, was published in Sydney as a pamphlet, now very scarce. It has been reprinted in John Macgillivray's ‘Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake,’ ii. 119–276, London, 1852. A monument to Kennedy is in St. James's Church, Sydney.

[Heaton's Australian Dates and Men of the Time, and authorities cited above.]

H. M. C.