Here is the second extract from William Kennett’s, (pictured) adventures in Australia.

We first shared his story in Looking Back in 2013 when Symondsbury resident Ruth Wrixton found the handwritten account of the former Symondsbury School headmaster’s journey from London to Sydney on the Lord Raglan steamship which left in October, 1866 and arrived on January 11, 1867.

Amazingly, Ruth has been sent a copy of the next instalment of William Kennett's journey by Ian Coates of the National Museum of Australia.

Here is the second extract: It is about five miles south of Cape York and about 600 miles north of Bowen, Port Denison (the largest town almost along the coast) contains between 500-600 inhabitants.

Three quarters of a mile to the east is Albany Island separated from the mainland by a pass through which the tide runs so strongly as to make navigation at all times difficult and dangerous.

The town itself is situated on two hills and the intervening valley consists, at present, of five inhabited buildings, a hospital, storehouse, lockup (chapel), two empty cottages and the residence of the Marine Officer who is absent on leave.

The population consists of Capt Simpson RN (the police magistrate), his wife, a female servant, Rev Mr Jagg, Dr Haran, Serjeant [sic] Dent and ten marines, J Ralph, a shepherd out of employ, who acts now as my servant, and myself, 18 in all.

About three miles out is a solitary squatter with four black people belonging to one of the southern tribes.

They are the cause of much of the blood shedding there since my arrival and I believe of very much before.

I dare say I shall have more to say of them as I go on.

The soil in the valley is chiefly sand and on the hills, red sandstone and ironstone, at present all attempts at cultivation have been unsuccessful.

The hills are covered (and so is the whole country for some miles inland) with ‘scrub’ or dense thickets of underwood of very rapid growth.

It has taken me the whole time I have been here to clear about two acres round my house. In damp places the scrub gives place to coarse rank grass which frequently attains a height of seven or eight feet.

It is unsuited for sheep feeding, in fact, sheep do anything but thrive here.

There is a good supply of water.

Much rain falls in the summer or wet season, we have a well and at the back of the settlement there is a rivulet, the Pola.

The scrub has, of course, its many inhabitants, the wallaby (or small kangaroo) is the chief quadruped, the pademelon is a smaller animal of the same kind.

There are a few opossums, several varieties of bats, native cats, flying foxes, squirrels and rats.

Of birds there is a great variety, the principal that I have met with are the blackbird of paradise, black macaw, cockatoo, blue mountain and rosella parrots, three kinds of doves, white and green pigeons, ducks, curlew, sandpipers, quail, bowerbirds, brush turkeys, marsh pheasant.

Five ‘carpet snakes’ from eight to 13 feet long were killed within 20 feet of the house during the first fortnight of my stay here in the same time I shot from the verandah a lizard of 42 inches in length.

The snakes, a green one especially, are most frequently found in the trees, lizards of all kinds are plentiful and alligators are occasionally seen.

Ants of many kinds swarm everywhere and are a great pest in the house, covering the meat and devouring the sugar.

Books, boots, clothes are destroyed and all efforts to get rid of them are fruitless.

One kind builds a hill 10 to 12 feet high of red clay and shaped like an irregular pyramid.

Beautiful butterflies abound.

The sea too teems with its finny thousands, and supplies its share to the wants of our table.

The sharks however quite prevent sea bathing.

Of the trees I can say but little, of course all that are here are native (wild).

Some I might mention are the gum tree, cedar, white and red apple, vine, cherry, date and the oak.

The climbing plants are very large with stems as thick as an ordinary tree.

At present I have seen but few flowers.

The climate is delightful, a more pleasant one could not be wished for; and considering that we are only 600 miles from the equator (much nearer than India) it is cool.

It is now winter with us and the thermometer ranges from 75 to 82 during the day and night.

In the summer it is about 12 degrees hotter. We have but two seasons, summer or wet season and winter or dry season.

The former generally lasts from October to March and the latter from April to September.

The wet, however, this year lasted till the middle of July.