The story of the original “jackey jackey”

Thanks to the National Library Trove for publishing this amazing tale from the original article in the Sydney Morning Herald 1849 – it is a wonder no film has been made about it?. [Thnx  to Eliza DoesaLittle for finding this story].


WE are glad to find that the first reports of the fate of poor KENNEDY’S expedition were so far incorrect, that the black natives are only answerable for one death, that of Mr. KENNEDY himself, and that the other unfortunate men died from other causes.

The expedition left Sydney about ten months since, and were landed at Rock- ingham Bay at the end of May, and took   their departure from the coast on the 2nd June. The party consisted of Mr. E. B. KENNEDY, Mr. J. C. BLACKETT, Mr. E. BIGGE, Mr. A. JOHNSON, Mr. T. WALL, Mr. W. CARRON, Mr. C. NIBLETT, JAMES LUFF, EDWARD TAYLOR, WILLIAM COSTI- GAN, WILLIAM GODDART, DUNN, and JACKEY, an aboriginal native.

Mr. KENNEDY’S instructions were to proceed from Rockingham Bay to Port Albany, at Cape York, where he was to meet a schooner that was to be despatched from Sydney with supplies, on receiving which he was to proceed down the western side of the peninsula and return to Syd- ney.

At first starting the ground was so scrubby that it was impossible to make way through it, and Mr. KENNEDY had to proceed on a south-west course for nearly five weeks before he was able to stand to the northward : the country was so very impracticable that they had to leave their carts and most of their heavy stores, so that by the time they had proceeded a few hundred miles it was evident that the provisions would not supply all the party to the end of the journey, and it was de- termined that eight of them should remain at Weymouth Bay, while Mr. KENNEDY and four men (LUFF, COSTIGAN, DUNN, and JACKEY) should proceed on to Port Albany, and bring the schooner round to the bay to relieve the men left there.

How the unfortunate party succeeded will be learned from the narrative given below, which is principally in the lan- guage of JACKEY, the only survivor. The courage and attachment to his master which JACKEY exhibited are wor- thy of all praise ; anything more affect- ing than the simple description of poor KENNEDY dying in the wilderness, and JACKEY crying over him until he got better, we never read. We hope some   means of giving JACKEY a small annual pension will be devised.

The people in the schooner saw a black in a canoe with a pair of Mr. KENNEDY’S trousers on, and as he resisted being ar- rested he was shot ; one black belonging to the party who attacked KENNEDY was taken, and kept in the schooner for a fortnight, when he jumped overboard and was drowned.

The schooner immediately proceeded to Shelborne Bay, and there in a black’s canoe they found a cloak belonging to one of the men left there ; search was made, but the men were not discovered, and there is no doubt they were dead ; but whether they died from exhaustion or were killed by the blacks will probably never be known. The schooner was then taken to Weymouth Bay, but of the eight persons left there but two (Mr. CARRON and GODDARD) were alive ; the other six had died from starvation, and GODDARD was so much reduced that it was at first doubtful whether he would recover. Upon receiving these parties on board, the schooner came to Sydney to bring the melancholy intelligence.

The Government have directed Messrs. INNES and BROWNE to institute, under the instructions of the ATTORNEY-GENERAL, a   judicial investigation into the circum- stances attending the death of Mr. KEN- NEDY, which, with the other information that can be obtained, will be officially published.

We hope to be able to lay before our readers to-morrow some particulars of the progress of the expedition prior to its arrival at Weymouth Bay, and until then, we shall reserve any observations respect- ing this melancholy affair. But we can- not conclude without expressing the deep sympathy which is felt by all classes with the sorrowing relations of the unfortunate men whose untimely end we have had to record.

The following is the statement of Jackey, above referred to :—

Mr. Kennedy started from Weymouth Bay for Cape York on the 13th November, 1848, accompanied by Jackey, the aborginal native, Costigan, Dunn, and Luff, leaving eight men behind, and Carron in charge of the camp. Mr. Kennedy and party took with them 18 lbs. of flour and 75 lbs. of dried horse meat, and seven of the best horses, and Jackey states they went on from Weymouth Bay, till they got to a river which emptied itself in Weymouth Bay ; a   little further north they crossed the river ; next morning a lot of natives camped on the other side of the river ; they (Mr. Kennedy and party) went on a very high hill and came to a flat on the other side and camped there, and went on a good way next day ; a horse had fallen down into a creek :

the Hour they took with them lasted three days ; they had much trouble in getting the horse out of the creek ; proceeding onward they came out and camped     on the ridges — no water ; next morning they went onward, and Luff was taken ill with a very bad knee ; we left him behind, and Dunn went back again and brought him on ; Luff was riding a horse named Fidler ; then we went on and camped at a little creek ; the flour being out on this day we commenced eating horse-flesh, which Carron gave us when we left Weymouth Bay ; as we went on we came on a small river, and saw no blacks there ; as we proceeded we gathered nondas, and lived upon them and the meat ; we stopped at a little creek and it came on raining, and Costigan shot himself ; in putting his saddle under the tarpaulin, a string caught the trigger and the ball went in under the right arm and came out at his back under the shoulder ; we went on this morning all of us, and stopped at another creek in the evening, and the next morning we killed a horse named Browney, smoked him that night, and went on next day, taking as much of the horse as we could with us, and went on about a mile and then turned back again to where we killed the horse, be- cause Costigan was very bad and in much pain ; we went back again because there was water there ; then Mr. Kennedy and Jackey had dinner there, and went on in the afternoon leaving Dunn, Costigan, and Luff at the creek. This was at Pudding-pan Hill, near Shelbourne Bay. Mr. Kennedy called it Pudding pan Hill.

We left some horse meat with the three men at Pudding-pan Hill, and carried some with us on a pack horse. Mr. Kennedy wanted to make great haste when he left this place, to get the doctor to go down to the men that were ill. This was about three weeks after leaving Weymouth Bay. One horse was left with the three men at Pudding-pan Hill, and they (Kennedy and Jackey) took with them three horses. The three men were to remain there until Mr. Kennedy and Jackey had gone to and returned from Cape York for them. Mr. Kennedy told Luff and Dunn when he left them that if Costigan died to come along the beach till they saw the ship and then to fire a gun ; he told them he would not be long away, so it was not likely they would move from there for some time. They stopped to take care of the man that was shot, we (me and Mr. Kennedy) killed a horse for them before we came away ; having left these three men we camped that night where there was no water ; next morning Mr. Kennedy and me went on with the four horses, two pack horses and two saddle horses ; one horse got bogged in a swamp. We tried to get him out all day but could not, we left him there, and camped at another creek.

The next day Mr. Kennedy and I went on again, and passed up a ridge very scrubby, and had to turn back again, and went along gullies to get clear of the creek and scrub. Now it rained, and we camped ; there were plenty of blacks here but we did not see them, but plenty of fresh tracks and camps, and smoke. Next morning we went on and camped at another creek, and on the following morning we continued going on, and camped in the evening close to a scrub ; it rained in the night. Next day we went on in the scrub but could not get through. I cut and cleared away, and it was near sun- down before we got through the scrub — there we camped.

It was heavy rain next morning, and we went on in the rain, then I changed horses and rode a black colt, to spell the other, and rode him all day, and in the afternoon we got on clear ground, and the horse fell down,   me and all ; the horse lay upon my right hip, here Mr. Kennedy got off his horse and moved my horse from my thigh ; we stopped there that night, and could not get the horse up ; we looked to him in the morning, and he was dead ; we left him there ; we had some horse meat left to eat, and went on that day and crossed a little river and camped. The next day we went a good way ; Mr. Kennedy told me to go up a tree to see a sandy hill somewhere ; I went up a tree and saw a sandy hill a little way down from Port Albany ; that day we camped near a swamp ; it was a very rainy day. The next morning we went on, and Mr. Kennedy told me we should get round to Port Albany in a day ; we travelled on all day till 12 o’clock (noon), and then we saw Port Albany ; then he said there is Port Albany Jackey — a ship is there — you see that island there, pointing to Albany Island ; this was when we were at the mouth of Escape River ; we stopped there a little while ; all the meat was gone ;

I tried to get some fish but could not ; we went on in the afternoon half a mile along the river side, and met a good lot of blacks and we camped ; the blacks all cried out powad, powad, and rubbed their bellies ; and we thought they were friendly, and Mr. Kennedy gave them fish-hooks all round ; every one asked me if I had any- thing to give away, and I said no ; and Mr. Kennedy said give them your knife, Jackey ; this fellow on board was the man I gave the knife to ; I am sure of it ; I know him well ; the black that was shot in the canoe was the most active in urging all the others on to spear Mr. Kennedy ; I gave the man on board my knife ; we went on this day, and I looked behind, and they were getting up their   spears, and ran all round the camp which we left ; I told Mr. Kennedy that very likely those blackfellows would follow us, and he said, ”

No, Jackey, those blacks are very friendly;” I said to him ” I know those black- fellows well, they too much speak ;” we went on some two or three miles and camped ; I and Mr. Kennedy watched them that night, taking it in turns every hour all night; by-and-bye I saw the blackfellows ; it was a moonlight night ; and I waked up to Mr. Kennedy, and said to him there is plenty of blackfellows now ; this was in the middle of the night ; Mr. Kennedy told me to get my gun ready ; the blacks did not know where we slept, as we did not make a fire; we both sat up all night ; after this daylight came, and I fetched the horses and saddled them ; then we went on a good way up the river, and then we sat down a little while, and we saw three black- fellows coming along our track and they saw us, and one fellow ran back as hard as he could run, and fetched up plenty more like a flock of sheep almost ;

I told Mr. Kennedy to put the saddles on the two horses and go on, and the blacks came up and     they followed us all the day ; all along it was raining, and I now told him to leave the horses and come on without them, that the horses make too much track. Mr. Kennedy was too weak, and would not leave the horses. We went on this day till towards evening, raining hard and the blacks followed us all the day, some behind, some planted before ; in fact, blacks all around following us. Now we went into a little bit of a scrub, and I told Mr. Ken- nedy to look behind always ; sometimes he would do so, and sometimes he would not look behind to look out for the blacks. Then a good many blackfellows came behind in the scrub, and threw plenty of spears, and hit Mr. Kennedy in the back first. Mr. Kennedy said to me ” Oh ! Jackey, Jackey ! shoot ’em, shoot ’em.”

Then I pulled out my gun and fired, and hit one fellow all over the face with buck shot ; he tumbled down, and got up again and again, and wheeled right round, and two black- fellows picked him up and carried him away. They went away then a little way, and came back again, throwing spears all around more than they did before : very large spears. I pulled out the spear at once from Mr. Ken- nedy’s back, and cut out the jag with Mr. Kennedy’s knife ; then Mr. Kennedy got his gun and snapped, but the gun would not go off. The blacks sneaked all along by the trees, and speared Mr. Ken- nedy again in the right leg, above the knee a little, and I got speared over the eye, and the blacks were now throwing their spears all ways, never giving over, and shortly again speared Mr. Kennedy in the right side ; there were large jags to the spears, and I cut them out and put them into my pocket. At the same time we got speared, the horses got speared too, and jumped and bucked all about, and got into the swamp. I now told Mr. Kennedy to sit down, while I looked after the saddle bags, which I did ; and when I came back again, I saw blacks along with Mr. Kennedy ;   I then asked him if he saw the blacks with   him, he waa stupid with the spear wounds, and said. No ; then I asked him where was his watch ? I saw the blacks taking away watch and hat as I was returning to Mr. Kennedy ; then I carried Mr. Kennedy into the scrub, he said, ”

Dont carry me a good way ;” then Mr. Kennedy looked this way, very bad (Jackey   rolling his eyes.) I said to him, ” Don’t look   far away,” as I thought he would be fright-ened ; I asked him often, “Are you well now ?” and he said ” I dont care for the spear wound in my leg, Jackey, but for the other two spear wounds in my side and back,” and said, “I am bad inside, Jackey.” I told him blackfellows always die when he got spear in there (the back) ; he said, ” I am out of wind, Jackey ;” I asked him, ” Mr. Kennedy, are you going to leave me ?” and he said, ” Yes, my boy, I am going to leave you,” he said, ” I am very bad, Jackey ; you take the books, Jackey, to the captain, but not the big ones, the Governor will give anything for them ; I then tied up the papers ; he then said, ” Jackey, give me paper, and I will write ;” I gave him paper and pencil, and he tried to write, and he then fell back and   died, and I caught him as he fell back and held him, and I then turned round myself and   cried ;

I was crying a good while, until I got well ; that was about an hour, and then I buried him ; I digged up the ground with a tomahawk, and covered him over with logs, then grass and my shirt and trousers ; that night I left him near dark ; I would go through the scrub, and the blacks throw spears at me, a good many, and I went bank again into the scrub ; then I went down the creek, which runs into Escape River, and I walked along the water in the Creek very easy, with my head only above water to avoid the blacks, and get out of their way ; in this way I went half a mile ; then I got out of the creek and got clear of them, and walked on all night nearly, and slept in the bush without a fire ; I went on next morning, and felt very bad, and I spelled for two days ;

I lived upon nothing but salt water ; next day I went on and camped one mile away from where I left, and ate one of the pandanos ; on next morning I went on two miles, and sat down there, and I wanted to spell a little there and go on, but when I tried   to get up I could not, but fell down again very tired and cramped, and I spelled here two days ; then I went on again one mile, and got nothing to eat but one nonda ; and I went on that day and camped, and on again next morning, about half a mile, and sat down where there was good water, and remained all day. On the following morning I went a good way, went round a great swamp, and mangroves, and got a good way by sundown. The next morning I went and saw a very large track of black- fellows. I went clear of the track and of swamp or sandy ground ; then I came to a very large river, and a large lagoon, plenty of alligators in the lagoon, about ten miles from Port Albany. I now got into the ridges by sun-down, and went up a tree and saw Albany Island. Then next morning at four o’clock, I went on as hard as I could go all the way down, over fine clear ground, fine iron bark timber and plenty of good grass ; I went on round the point (this was towards Cape York, north of Albany Island) and went on and fol- lowed a creek down, and went on top of the hill and I saw Cape York ; I knew it was Cape York, because the sand did not go on farther ;

I sat down then a good while ; I said to my-   self this is Port Albany, I believe inside some- where. Mr. Kennedy always told me that the ship was inside, close up to the main land ; I went on a little way and saw the ship and boat ; I met close up here two black gins and a good many piccaninies ; one said to   me powad, powad ; then I asked her for eggs, shegave me turtles’ eggs and     I gave her a burning-glass ; she pointed at the ship which I had seen before ; I was very frightened of seeing the black men all along here, and when I was on the rock cooeying, and murry murry glad when the boat came for me.

Jackey was thirteen days getting to the ship from leaving Mr. Kennedy ; Jackey took three barbed spears out of Mr. Kennedy ; one went through his body and came out of the side of the abdomen ; Mr. Kennedy told Jackey, from Shelbourne Bay that he would give him     5s. per week to look out opossums for him, and Jackey did so all tho way to Escape River ; Mr. Kennedy told Jackey which way to go to reach Port Albany when he was dying, and said I am done, Jackey, I am done ; he told Jackey to take the papers and compass and give them to the doctor or the captain in the ship he would see at Port Albany ; he   pointed out Cape York to Jackey when he was   at Escape River ; Jackey lived all the way upon lizards, guanas, and snakes, and water, but some days went without anything ; Jackey says he never slept at night, but lay down ; used to go upon high trees to look out for the sea and Albany Island ; he carried Mr. Ken- nedy’s saddle-bags and papers until he got so weak that he could not carry them further, leaving some things five miles from where Mr. Kennedy was buried, and planted them ; Mr. Kennedy once got into a bog after leaving Pud- ding-pan Hill, up to his shoulder, and was like a pig in the mud, Jackey says ; he lifted him out. He tried to bring the barbs of the spears which he cut out with him, but lost them.

The blacks, he says, were very saucy in far from the coast, but very civil at Rockingham Bay. When the spears came from all quarters at Escape River, Jackey would break them in pieces when he came across them. The pow- der was wet, and guns unfortunately would not go off. If the guns had been right they would have got off safe, but there was lots of rain every day. In one instance Jackey got his gun off by putting the end of it in the fire. They both suffered much from cramp in the legs from wet. The blacks, he says, followed Mr. Kennedy and him at Escape River, for three days. They would go round about them in all directions, and once set fire all round them. When Jackey left Mr. Kennedy, he killed a rat and got a good dinner off it, and breakfasted next morning on one of its legs. Jackey says the men at Weymouth Bay were very tired, and could not crawl, when him and Mr. Ken- nedy left them.

It was on a Sunday morning Costigan shot himself. Jackey speaks of a large river north of Escape River, and speaks of the lagoon as being of great extent. Some- times Jackey carried Mr. Kennedy from place to place when he was ill, out of the way of the blacks, and, as he terms it, planted him. After Jackey had taken Mr. Kennedy out of the bay between Shelbourne Bay and Escape River, they spelled for several days, he was so ill, and Jackey says he carried him often on his back, not far, only half a mile, at a time. When the blacks set fire all round them at Escape River, Jackey sneaked on them and tried to fire, but the gun would not go off. It was then the blacks came up close and speared Mr.Kennedy allround.

When Jackey returned to Mr. Kennedy after sneaking on the blacks he found they had taken away his cloak, watch, and everything. They were frequently obliged   to tie up the horses for two days, whilst cut- ting through the scrub. They took in Jackey’s absence from Mr. Kennedy two pistols, and two double guns, a quart pot, pint pot, ammunition, pouch, and spy glass : and bruised Mr. Kennedy’s ancles with stones, Jacky planted a sextant and a mackintosh cloak of

Mr. Kennedy’s, also gloves : all this whilst Jackey was looking out to keep off the blacks with his gun, which would not go off ; he could not see the blacks well for the spear wound in his eye. Jackey says he planted besides the papers, a looking glass, comb, dress brush, and bone of a steel pen, a pair of compasses, lots of paper. It appears Jackey would have with him latterly a pencil and paper to describe rudely any mountains he might see when on a tree, &c. In passing Escape River in the vessel Jackey knew the place well. There were no stars visible at night for several nights together, so that Mr. Kennedy could not ascer- tain his position when near Escape River, otherwise, Jackey says, Mr. Kennedy intended to have made Escape River much higher up, instead of at its mouth. Jackey sent two rockets up in the evening, near the river he came across north of Escape River, after Mr.   Kennedy died. Mr. Kennedy told me to do so before he died ;

we could get up to where Mr. Kennedy was buried in one day from the mouth of Escape River. Mr. Kennedy expected to cross the river soon when at the mouth, and said to Jackey we shall have a large damper to-morrow, meaning that he would reach the vessel next day. One day, Mr. Kennedy and Jackey got a snake, and eat him ; it was a treat. Jackey is pretty sure he saw one of the blacks who speared Mr. Kennedy, in a canoe at Port Albany. He saw plenty of blacks all along the coast to Albany Island, but avoided them. The blacks, he says, at Escape River throw a spear much better than at Jerry’s Plains ; they never miss hardly. ” Powad powad” means peace. Mr. Kennedy promised to take Jackey to England with him on his return ; and appears to have made a companion of him during the latter part of his journey. After Mr. Kennedy had been bogged his feet were much swollen.

WE hare been favoured by Mr. S. H. MARSH with a copy of a pamphlet issued in London in October last, in which a scheme is propounded for uniting coloni- sation with the formation of a railway between Melbourne and Sydney. In the present state of the English money mar- ket any attempt to raise money for such a purpose would utterly fail, but the plan is important, as it shows that emigration must be taken up as a national question, and that persons connected with the ad- ministration of the poor laws are beginning to have their eyes opened to the fact that it will be cheaper for them to send out paupers than maintain them in unions — that what will keep a pauper a year will pay his passage to Australia. We have copied the pamphlet in another page.

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