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19 June 1838 Sir George Kingston

 19 June 1838   Sir George Kingston

George Strickland (Paddy) Kingston arrived in South Australia for the second time on 19 June 1838. He first came in 1836 as deputy Surveyor-General to Colonel Light, although the two men did not get on well. In his biography of William Light, Geoffrey Dutton describes Kingston at that time as 'a young Irishman of twenty-seven with a smattering of education in architecture and engineering, little or no knowledge of surveying, and an obtusely quick temper'.

In 1837 the survey of country sections was taking longer than at first estimated and Kingston was sent to England for reinforcements. On his return a year later, with directions from the Commissioners for a running survey to be carried out to speed the process, he found that Light had resigned and he was to act as Surveyor-General until the arrival of Frome. Kingston resigned his position soon after Governor Gawler arrived, but in 1839 he was Inspector of Public Works and Town Surveyor, and as Government Architect he designed several public buildings.

Unlike poor William Light, who died in 1839, Kingston went from strength to strength. In 1851 he was elected for the seat of Burra to the House of Assembly and was made Speaker, a position he held until 1860. Elected again in 1865 and re-elected Speaker he retained the chair until shortly before his death. He was a Freemason and was responsible for forming the first lodge in 1837. Knighted in 1870 he died at sea, whilst on a voyage to India, on 26 November 1881. The town of Kingston was founded by him as he owned the land and laid out the allotments for the town. He lived at Marino in the house now known and opened to the public as Kingston House.

Kingston House, now on the Heritage Register, was built in 1840 as an inn. In about 1851 Kingston made extensions to the small building and used it as a summer residence. Following his death the house became the property of his son, Charles Cameron Kingston, Premier of South Australia in the 1890s, who lived there until his death in 1908. His widow remained there until her death in 1919 after which it became run-down. The property was bought by the Government in 1924 and was used as a tourist hostel from 1927. With the adjoining land it became known as Kingston Park.

George Loyau, The Representative Men of South Australia, Adelaide, 1883, p. 150.
Geoffrey Dutton, Founder of a city,   Cheshire, Melbourne, 1960, p. 155.
Eric Gunton, Gracious Homes of Colonial Adelaide, 1983, pp. 75-76.

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