The old cannons at Somerset
|Population||0 (2016 census)|
|• Density||0.0000/km2 (0.0000/sq mi)|
|Area||463.5 km2 (179.0 sq mi)|
Somerset is the northernmost locality on the Cape York Peninsula and also of the Queensland mainland with Cape York at the northernmost point.
With its separation from New South Wales on 10 December 1859, the new colony of Queensland acquired over 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi) of coastline extending as far north as Cape York Peninsula. The colony's first parliament passed a resolution in 1860 favouring direct connection with England via the Torres Strait. In December 1861, Sir George Ferguson Bowen (1821–99), Governor of Queensland (1859–67), described the necessity for a station in the far north of Queensland. From a naval and military point of view, a post at or near Cape York would be valuable, due to the establishment of a French colony and naval station in New Caledonia. Bowen informed Henry Pelham-Clinton, 5th Duke of Newcastle, Secretary of State for the Colonies, that the government of Queensland would be willing to undertake the formation and management of a station at Cape York and to support a civil establishment there.
On 27 August 1862, Bowen left Brisbane on HMS Pioneer to select an eligible site for the proposed settlement. The chosen site, opposite Albany Island, was named Somerset, in honour of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Edward Seymour, 12th Duke of Somerset.
Tenders were called for the construction of government buildings in March 1863, a town survey was undertaken in July 1864 and the Town Reserve of Somerset was established on 8 July 1864. The first Somerset land sale was held in Brisbane on 4 April 1865 and a second sale took place on 2 May 1866. Land parcels sold at these auctions were about one acre (0.405 a) in size.
In February 1864, John Jardine (1807–74) was appointed Somerset's first Police Magistrate and Commissioner of Crown Lands and in July 1864 he was appointed District Registrar for the District of North Cook. An early sketch of Somerset by Jardine shows the Government Residence, Police Magistrate's House and Customs House on the southern side of Somerset Bay, and Marines' Barracks and the Medical Superintendent's House on the northern side. Henry Simpson succeeded Jardine as Police Magistrate in 1866. The Marines were withdrawn in 1867 and replaced with Native Police.
John Jardine was the father of Francis (Frank) Lascelles Jardine (1841-1919) and Alexander (Alick) William Jardine (1843-1920) who, between May 1864 and March 1865, undertook an overland expedition from Rockhampton to Cape York which was described at the time as, geographically:
"solving the question of the course of the northern rivers emptying into the Gulf of Carpentaria of which nothing was known but their outlets. It has also made known...how much ... or rather, how little, of the 'York Peninsula' is adapted for pastoral occupation, whilst its success in taking the first stock overland, and forming a cattle station at Newcastle Bay, has ensured to the Settlement at Somerset a necessary and welcome supply of fresh meat...".
The Jardine River was named after them by order of Governor Bowen. For their pioneering exploratory efforts the Jardine brothers were made Fellows of the Royal Geographical Society and awarded the Society's Murchison Award in 1886.
Several Indigenous groups occupied this region prior to European contact. In an 1896 report to the Queensland Government, Archibald Meston estimated that in the 1870s the Indigenous population between Newcastle Bay ( ) and Cape York was around 3000. At the time of writing his report, he believed that the population had fallen to around 300. This rapid decline was caused by a number of factors, including introduced disease, exclusions from traditional hunting grounds and frontier violence. Reverend Frederick Charles Jagg, a missionary at Somerset appointed by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, gave an indication of the relationship between European and Indigenous peoples when he reported in 1867 that "The aborigines have been described as the most degraded, treacherous and bloodthirsty beings in existence by the present Police Magistrate, and those whose only idea is to shoot them down whenever they were seen".
Frank Jardine was appointed as a Magistrate in December 1867 and as Police Magistrate and Inspector of Police at Somerset in April 1868. In 1869 he held the positions of District Registrar for Somerset, Police Magistrate, Clerk of Petty Sessions, Inspector of Police and Postmaster. He married Samoan woman, Sana Sofala, in 1873 and the couple had four children: Alice Maule Lascelles, Hew Cholmondeley (Chum), Bootle Arthur Lascelles (Bertie) and Elizabeth Sana Hamilton. Frank Jardine's tenure as a government officer in Somerset was not without controversy. The local Indigenous population was dispossessed and there was hostility between them and the Jardine family, both during Frank and Alick Jardine's expedition to Somerset, and during the years of the settlement. Jardine was also suspended for a time from his duties as Police Magistrate whilst being investigated in relation to using his position to obtain a pearl diving licence.
Somerset became redundant as a port once a safer shipping route to the Torres Strait was found and a settlement on Thursday Island was built from 1876. Frank Jardine continued to live at Somerset, maintaining the police residence until his death there in March 1919. During this time, Jardine continued to maintain a beef cattle herd; was engaged in the pearling industry; and created a coconut/copra plantation at Somerset. Due to Somerset's isolated location the Jardine family provided assistance and hospitality to travellers and seafarers, for example, Jardine aided the survivors of the shipwreck of RMS Quetta in 1890.
The pearl diving industry was important to the Queensland economy, and came to be dominated by Japanese divers after 1891. Kobori Itchimatsu came from the village of Nishi Mukai in Wakayama prefecture, an area that provided 80 per cent of the 7,000 Japanese who left their country to become pearl divers.
The Kennedy Memorial Monument was unveiled on 13 December 1948 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Edmund Besley Court Kennedy's unsuccessful exploration of Cape York Peninsula. The monument comprises a concrete slab on a concrete footing with a bronze commemorative plaque on its eastern face.
In 2011 the Angkamuthi Seven Rivers, the McDonnell Atampaya and the Gudang/Yadhaigana groups made an application for native title determination over the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council and Cook Shire areas, covering an area of approximately 685,642 hectares (1,694,260 acres). The determination was handed down on 30 October 2014.
There is an historical ruin of Somerset homestead, a station established by John Jardine (father of Frank Jardine) in 1863 and is 35 km north of Bamaga on Cape York in Queensland, Australia. It is a good camping area and day trip with facilities for barbecues. It is situated near a beach.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Somerset (SSC)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
- "Somerset - Shire of Torres (entry 48328)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
- "Somerset - Northern Peninsula Area Region (entry 46107)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
- "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Retrieved 4 June 2019.
- C G Austin, "Early History of Somerset and Thursday Island", Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland, Volume 4, issue 2, Brisbane 1949, p. 217.
- "Somerset Graves Site (entry 650072)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
- Austin, Early History of Somerset and Thursday Island, p. 218
- 'Events for 1862', Theophilis Pugh, Pugh's Almanac and Queensland Directory, Brisbane, Australia, 1863, p. 166-67.
- Queensland Government Gazette, vol. 3, 1863, p. 203
- Queensland Government Gazette, vol. 5, 1864, p. 470
- Queensland Government Gazette, vol.5, 1864, p. 470.
- Queensland Government Gazette, vol. 6, 2 March 1865, p. 163-64
- Queensland Government Gazette, vol.7, 14 March 1866, p. 295-96.
- Queensland Government Gazette, vol. 5, 1864, page 171
- Queensland Government Gazette, vol. 5, 8 July 1864, p. 469
- Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, <"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)>, accessed Oct 2017.
- E J T Barton (ed), Jubilee History of Queensland, HJ Diddams & Co: Brisbane, 1909, p. 362.
- James Cook University, Material Culture Unit, Report on the Former Magistrate's Residence at Somerset, Cape York: Stage 1, 1986, p. 42.
- S McIntyre, Conservation Plan Somerset Historic Site, Prepared on behalf of the Injinoo Aboriginal Community, 1994, p. 14.
- F L Byerley. Overland Expedition of the Messrs. Jardine, from Rockhampton to Cape York, Northern Queensland. J.W. Buxton, Bookseller and Stationer, Brisbane, 1867, p. 65 reproduced Project Gutenberg eBook 2004<http://www.gutenberg.org/files/4521/4521-h/4521-h.htm£pic2 Archived 19 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine>, accessed Oct 2017
- Clem Lack, "Jardine, John (1807-1874)", Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 February 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), published first in hardcopy 1972, accessed online 25 October 2017.
- F L Byerley. Narrative of the overland expedition of the Messrs. Jardine from Rockhampton to Cape York. Brisbane, 1867, p. 65. (River name approved in 1865).
- Sydney Evening News, 8 July 1886 p. 8.
- State of Queensland 2016. Injinoo. Online: <"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 February 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)>, accessed 19 October 2017.
- Archibald Meston, Report on the Aboriginals of Queensland to the Home Secretary, QLD, Votes and Proceedings, vol.4, 1(1896) 724
- Queensland State Archives, Home Secretary's Office, HOM/J717, 1929/3999, list of Aboriginal reserves.
- N Sharp, Footprints Along the Cape York Sandbeaches (Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 1992) 55-58
- J Richards, The Secret War: A True History of Queensland's Native Police (Queensland University Press, St Lucia 2008) 42.
- James Cook University, Material Culture Unit. Report on the Former Magistrate's Residence at Somerset, Cape York: Stage 1, p. 42
- Queensland Government Gazette, Vol. 7, 1867, p. 144.
- David R Moore, Islanders and Aborigines at Cape York. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra, 1979, p. 255-6.
- Queensland Government Gazette: vol. 7, 1868, p. 1165
- Queensland Government Gazette, vol. 8, 1868, p. 334.
- Blue Book of Queensland 1869, Queensland Government Printer, Brisbane, 1869, p. viii. In 1873 Jardine was District Registrar, Police Magistrate and Shipping Inspector at Somerset, but from the following year, held no official positions. In his capacity of Justice of the Peace he acted as "Guardian of Minors" for Somerset, a role he held from 20 March 1872 for many years.
- Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, <"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)>, accessed Oct 2017
- Queensland Death Certificate for Sana Jardine, 1923, Reg# C4567.
- Rodney Liddell, Cape York. The Savage Frontier. Rodney Liddell, Redbank, 1996, p. 98.
- Barton, Jubilee History of Queensland, p. 361
- McIntyre, Conservation Plan Somerset Historic Site, pp. 13-14.
- Brisbane Courier, 18 March 1919, p. 6.
- Liddell, Cape York, the Savage Frontier, pp. 125, 131, 145
- 'Colonial News', Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 25 August 1877, p. 4
- 'Wreck of the RMS Quetta. Terrible Loss of Life Among Europeans', The Week, 8 March 1890, p. 11.
- Pugh, Pugh's Almanac: 1892, p. 170, 1900, p. 1039
- Queensland Heritage Register (QHR) 600875 Thursday Island Cemetery (incorporating the Japanese Cemetery and the grave of the Hon. John Douglas)
- n.a., Kushimoto: The Public Information Magazine, No. 116, December 2014, p. 3.
- Photographs of Kennedy Memorial Monument taken at site visit in September 2017.
- "Edmund Kennedy". Monument Australia. Archived from the original on 5 June 2019. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
- In "Exclusive Areas" of exercise of the native title rights and interests, those rights and interests are, other than in relation to Water, the rights to possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of the area to the exclusion of all others. AustLII 2014. Woosup on behalf of the Northern Cape York Group #1 v State of Queensland (No 3)  FCA 1148 (30 October 2014), Federal Court (Australia).
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Somerset (SSC)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Somerset, Queensland.|
- Somerset. Pictures, photos, objects
- «Narrative of the overland expedition of the Messrs. Jardine, from Rockhampton to Cape York, Northern Queensland. Frank and Alexander Jardine» / Compiled from the journals of the brothers, and edited by Frederick J. Byerley, (Engineer of Roads, Northern Division of Queensland). — Brisbane: J. W. Buxton, 1867. — p. 88
- Austin C. G. «Early history of Somerset and Thursday Island» // «Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland», vol. 4, № 2, 1949, p. 216-230, ISSN 1837-8366
- Bayton J. «The mission to the Aborigines at Somerset» // «Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland», vol. 7, № 3, 1965, p. 622-633, ISSN 0085-5804
- Carroll J. M. «Journey into Torres Straits» // «Queensland Heritage», vol. 2, № 1, 1969, p. 35-42, ISSN 0033-6157
- Moore, C. R. «Queensland's annexation of New Guinea in 1883» // «Journal of the Royal Historical Society of Queensland», vol. 12, № 1, 1984, p. 26-54, ISSN 0085-5804
- Australian Dictionary of Biography: Jardine, John (1807-1874)
- Australian Dictionary of Biography: Jardine, Francis Lascelles (Frank) (1841–1919)
- Australian Dictionary of Biography: Chester, Henry Marjoribanks (1832–1914)
- Australian Dictionary of Biography: Dalrymple, George Augustus (1826–1876)
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