Cape York Peninsula is a large remote peninsula located in Far North Queensland, Australia. It is the largest unspoiled wilderness in northern Australia and one of the last remaining areas on Earth. The land is flat and about half of the area is used for grazing cattle. Edmund Kennedy was the first European explorer to attempt an expedition of Cape York Peninsula. He had been second-in-command to Thomas Livingstone Mitchell in 1846 when the Barcoo River was discovered, the aim was to blaze a trail to the tip of the peninsula where some Sydney businessmen thought of developing a port for trade with the East Indies. The expedition set out from Rockingham Bay near the present town of Cardwell in May 1848, of the thirteen men who set out, only three survived. The others died of fever or starvation, or were speared by hostile aborigines, Kennedy died of spear wounds almost within sight of his destination in December 1848. The only survivor to complete the journey was Jackey Jackey, an aborigine from New South Wales and he led a rescue party to the other two who had been unable to continue. En route they lost most of their horses, many of their stores and fought pitched battles with aborigines, the west coast borders the Gulf of Carpentaria and the east coast borders the Coral Sea. The peninsula is bordered on three sides, there is no clear demarcation to the south, although the official boundary in the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act 2007 of Queensland runs along at about 16°S latitude. At the peninsula’s widest point, it is 430 km from the Bloomfield River in the southeast and it is some 660 km from the southern border of Cook Shire, to the tip of Cape York. The largest islands in the strait include Prince of Wales Island, Horn Island, Moa, at the tip of the peninsula lies Cape York, the northernmost point on the Australian continent. The tropical landscapes are among the most stable in the world, the backbone of Cape York Peninsula is the peninsula ridge, part of Australia’s Great Dividing Range. This mountain range is made up of ancient Precambrian and Palaeozoic rocks, to the east and west of the peninsula ridge lie the Carpentaria and Laura Basins, themselves made up of ancient Mesozoic sediments. The soils are remarkably infertile even compared to areas of Australia, being almost entirely laterised and in most cases so old. The temperature is warm to hot, with a climate in higher areas. The mean annual temperatures range from 18 °C at higher elevations to 27 °C on the lowlands in the drier southwest, temperatures over 40 °C and below 5 °C are rare. Annual rainfall is high, ranging from over 2,000 millimetres in the Iron Range, almost all this rain falls between November and April, and only on the eastern slopes of the Iron Range is the median rainfall between June and September above 5 millimetres
Commemorative stone for Edmund B. C. Kennedy, unveiled at Cardwell, 1948. In 1848, Kennedy, Assistant-Surveyor of New South Wales, led an expedition to explore Cape York Peninsula.
Sand dunes around Cape Flattery.
Jardine River, northern Cape York Peninsula, at the base of Cape York itself.