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Iluka artist retraces footsteps of an ill fated expedition

Illustrator and botanist Janet Hauser with her tribute to William Carron, one of three survivors of the 1849 Kennedy Expedition. Image: Contributed.
As far as adventures go it doesn’t get any better than Iluka botanist and illustrator Janet Hauser retracing the footsteps of the ill-fated 1849 Kennedy Exploration of the country lying between Rockingham Bay and Cape York in Queensland. Only three people survived the expedition one of which was botanist William Carron who Mrs Hauser has dedicated her upcoming exhibition ‘An Exhibition of Botanical Art’ to. Hauser said “William Carron, an Aboriginal tracker and a former convict were the only three survivors of this expedition and when they were transported back to Sydney they left behind all Carron’s collected specimens from the trip. I can only imagine Carron would have been devastated, however he kept a diary and included intricate drawings of specimens and it was this diary that lead to me to retrace his footsteps and discover those same specimens as he did. I have now redrawn them in their full colour and it gives me goose bumps to know I have walked many miles in his shoes because it is obvious we are both passionate about nature”. In 1872 Carron presented reports on twenty forest reserves in northern New South Wales as parliamentary papers. He condemned the practice of wastefully ring barking trees for building purposes and warned that the supply of red cedar would soon be exhausted if current cutting procedures were continued. At the end of 1875 Carron resigned from the Botanic Gardens to become inspector of forests and forestry ranger in the Clarence district. He went to Grafton early in February 1876 but, while he was making arrangements for his family to join him, his health failed rapidly. He died on 25 February 1876 and is buried in the Church of England cemetery, Grafton. The exhibition is being staged at the Yamba Museum Saturday August 12 at 2.30pm. Descendants of the three survivors will be present for the exhibition opening.