Somerset, Cape York Peninsular

Somerset is an abandoned settlement near the tip of Cape York established by the Jardine Family (namesake of the Jardine River) in 1863 to provide a presence in the Cape York area, help open up the region for pastoral land and offer a safe place of refuge for passing ships. Today it’s a camping area with pit toilets, tables and a free caravan. The caravan has some minor cosmetic issues and is in need of a tidy up.

We drove up the track past the Somerset site, past the thong tree to a rocky headland where some chaps were fishing. Then we turned back and searched for the Somerset Ruins but all we could find were some graves, old cannons and some iron shacks which looked much more recent than 1860’s. With no other ruins to be found, we headed down to the camping area on the beach and set up camp near the caravan. Sharni prepared a camp oven roast while Joe struggled with the fire for a few hours whilst downing some cold brews. We didn’t collect any wood on the way so had to make do with the scraps we could find in the camping area, most of which was lying in the shade on the ground, damp. That’s a valid excuse for fire problems isn’t it?

Whilst the fire smoldered away slowly cooking our dinner we had plenty of time to check out some graves in the area including that of Frank Jardine and descendants of the Jardine family. There’s also a memorial for the Kennedy Expedition, in which Edmund Kennedy and most of his team perished in an attempt to reach the tip of Cape York.

After dinner we packed everything up, except the roof top tent, so that we could leave at dawn and make it back to Seisia in time to catch the morning ferry to Thursday Island.

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