Hon. Charles Cameron Kingston, QC

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About Hon. Charles Cameron Kingston, QC

Charles Cameron Kingston (22 October 1850 – 11 May 1908)

Australian politician, was an early radical liberal Premier of South Australia serving from 1893 to 1899 with the support of Labor led by John McPherson from 1893 and Lee Batchelor from 1897 in the House of Assembly, winning the 1893, 1896 and 1899 colonial elections against the conservatives. He was a leading proponent of and contributed extensively on the Federation of Australia, and was elected to the federal House of Representatives with the most votes amongst the seven elected in the single statewide Division of South Australia at the 1901 election, serving under the Protectionist Party, going on to represent the Division of Adelaide at the 1903 election. A radical liberal in state politics, his government introduced such progressive measures as: electoral reform including the first law to give votes to women in Australia (and second in the world only to New Zealand), a legitimation Act, the first conciliation and arbitration Act in Australia, establishment of a state bank, a high protective tariff, regulation of factories, a progressive system of land and income taxation, a public works programme, and more extensive workers’ compensation.

Kingston was born in Adelaide, the son of Sir George Kingston, a Protestant Irish-born surveyor, architect and landowner in the early days of British settlement in South Australia and later a member of the first Parliament of South Australia. His mother, Ludovina Cameron, was of Portuguese descent. George Kingston boasted that he was "the first Irishman to set foot in the colony" and it is true that the Kingstons were among Adelaide's founding families. Charles was educated at the Adelaide Educational Institution (schoolmate S. J. Magarey was born just one day later than him) and served his articles with Sir Samuel Way, Adelaide's leading lawyer and later Attorney-General of South Australia. He was called to the bar in 1873, despite the objection of the elder brother of his future wife, Lucy May McCarthy on the grounds of Kingston's alleged seduction of her. He became a QC in 1889.

In 1873 Kingston married Lucy McCarthy. Lucy was an invalid for much of her life and they had no children. In a remarkable gesture, however, Lucy took in a child, Kevin Kingston, whom Kingston had fathered with another woman, Elizabeth Watson, in 1883. As a result of this scandal, Kingston was ostracised by Adelaide "society," his contempt for whom he never troubled to conceal. Kevin died in 1902.

Kingston and his older brother Strickland Gough "Pat" Kingston (1848 - 3 October 1897) formed a business partnership Kingston & Kingston in 1879 which they dissolved in July 1884. S. G. Kingston was a brilliant lawyer, but unstable. He was jailed for the gunshot wounding of a cabdriver in June 1884 and killed himself after losing an important case in Port Augusta.

Kingston's body was exhumed in March 2008 because two people thought they may be his direct descendants from an illegitimate child of his. It is claimed that Kingston was ostracised by Adelaide society for his sexual indiscretions, having fathered at least six illegitimate children.


A CENTURY after his death, the man credited with giving Australian women the vote is also said to have fathered "half the illegitimate" children in Adelaide.

The bodies of two other people suspected of being Kingston’s illegitimate offspring also were exhumed. They are Genevieve Grey and A.A. “Bert” Edwards, and along with their alleged father, have all been taken to Henneberg’s laboratory, where samples were taken for DNA analysis.


CHARLES Cameron Kingston's reputation as South Australia's promiscuous premier has been confirmed through modern science.

Exactly 102 years to the day after Kingston's death, his illegitimate great-grandson Malcolm Simpson yesterday said he was pleased DNA tests had confirmed the family link.

Mr Simpson, 61, said his family had always known the former premier was the father of his late grandmother, but that it was important to make sure the legend was true.

"When I was a child, every time we would drive past his statue in the city, it was mentioned that he was my grandmother's father," Mr Simpson said.

The main reason he had pursued the genealogical mystery was to vindicate his grandmother, ostracised because of her illegitimacy and sent to an orphanage.

"An eight-year-old girl in an orphanage, who knows who her father is, who knows who her mother is, and neither will have anything to do with her," an emotional Mr Simpson told yesterday's gathering.

The body of Kingston - who penned much of Australia's constitution - was exhumed from West Tce Cemetery in March 2008 after former Attorney-General Michael Atkinson approved an application from the pioneer's illegitimate descendants, including Mr Simpson and his sister.

There were rumours Mr Kingston fathered several illegitimate children and Mr Simpson told the gathering that he has at least 45 descendants, plus another line of descendants in Queensland.

University of Adelaide anatomical science Professor Maciej Henneberg said the DNA tests confirmed Kingston was related to at least four descendants, including a grandson who came forward after the exhumation. "We hope now, after this announcement, other descendants will come forward," Professor Henneberg said.

Kingston married Lucy McCarthy in 1873 and the pair never had children. In a gesture which did not fit with the times, Lucy adopted a boy named Kevin, whom her philandering husband had fathered with another woman in 1883 - something which led to Kingston being shunned by Adelaide high society.

Former premier John Bannon said Kingston was a colourful historic figure who probably would have enjoyed being the subject of controversy a century after his death.


Anthropologist Maciej Henneberg led the research.

"The results of those genetic analyses indicate first and foremost that Charles Kingston cannot be excluded as an ancestor of the three living people," he said.

"Secondly from genetic calculations we have high probability that Peter Beaumont, Malcolm Simpson and Kharma Annear are related and that they may be descendants of Charles Kingston."


Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), Tuesday 12 May 1908, page 6




Mr. Charles Cameron Kingston, M.P., died this morning, aged 57.

Mr. Kingston's death occurred at 4 a.m., in the rooms in Ocean-chambers, King William-street, occupied by himself and wife as living quarters. He had been ill for a considerable time, but was accustomed to journey to his Brighton home at the week ends and return to the city on Monday mornings. During the four or five days prior to his death his illness took a serious form, and he and Mrs. Kingston remained in Adelaide.

The bells at the Adelaide Town Hall and the Roman Catholic Cathedral were tolled out of respect to the memory of the deceased statesman this morning, and eulogies were passed from the Bench by Mr. Justice Gordon, and from the Bar by Sir Josiah Symon, KC. The Government has arranged for a State funeral to mark the great public services Mr. Kingston rendered as Premier of South Australia. The obsequies will take place on Wednesday morning.

A number of tributes were paid by public men and others to the great abilities of the deceased. The Acting Premier, Mr. O'Lough-lin, received the following telegram from Mr. Kirkpatrick, who is in Melbourne:—"House of Representatives will be asked to adjourn on Wednesday, as the Prime Minister pro-poses to attend the funeral on behalf of the Commonwealth."

The Governor intimated to the Government to-day that he had received with great regret news of tho death of Mr. Kingston.

The death of Mr. Kingston supervened upon a long and painful illness, whose ravages had lately became increasingly apparent to the grief of his friends, and thus has closed in circumstances well calculated to excite deep sympathy the remarkable career of one of the most conspicuous of South Australian natives.

The Right Hon. Charles Cameron Kingston, P.C., K.C., who possessed also the honorary degree of LL.B., Oxford, was born in Adelaide on October 22, 1850. He was a younger son of the late Sir George Strickland Kingston, who arrived in South Australia in 1836, and who was first Speaker of tho House of Assembly, in which capacity he served for nearly 20 years. Sir George came with Colonel Light in the ship Cygnet, and had the honour of being the first white man to set foot on the site of Adelaide. Mr. Kingston's mother was Ludovina Catherine Da Silva, daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles G. Cameron, who distinguished himself in the Peninsular and American wars. The deceased legislator, whose illness has for several years prevented him from being other than nominally a member of the House of Representatives in the Commonwealth parliament, was educated at Mr. J. L. Young's well-known institution, and on leaving school was articled to Mr. (now Sir Samuel) Way, and was admitted to the Bar in 1873. He remained with Mr. Way until that gentleman be-came Chief Justice in 1876, when he began to practise on, his own account as a barrister and solicitor, and In 1889 was appointed Queen's Counsel.

Mr. Kingston's Parliamentary career began in 1881, the year in which his father died at sea, while on a health trip to India, when Adelaide elected him to the Legislative Assembly. In that year, and for 20 years, he continued to serve the same constituency. Early In 1900 he resigned from the Assembly, in order to proceed to England as South Auslralian representative among the Australian Delegation who urged the Imperial Enactment of the Commonwealth Bill. During ' his absence elections for the .Legislative Council were held, and he contested the Southern District, but found himself at tho bottom of the poll. However, tho death of Mr. S. Tomkinson created a vacancy in the Legislative Council for the representation of the Central District, and in September, 1900 a sharp contest belween Mr Kingston and tbe late Mr. J. L. Parsons ended in the former's favour by 171 votes.

His short career In the Legislative Council, however, was comparatively uneventful. In 1901 he resigned to take part in the first Federal elections, in which South Australia, voting as one district, returned him at the head of the poll for the House of Representatives.

Mr. Kingston had few equals in Australia as a parliamentary draftsman. When in the Playford Government Mr. Kingston rendered groat assistance in obtaining the adoption of a protective tariff for South Australia and payment of members. He also represented South Australia at many interstate conferences, one of the most important of which was that held at Sydney in 1888 on the subject of Chinese Immigration. His skill as a draftsman was shown in a measure which, with the assistance of the late Mr. John Macrossan, ho framed for regulating the question a measure which was subsequently adopted by all the States represented, with the exception of Tasmania. In 1888, as Attorney General in the Playford Government, he took charge of a bill for seourlng the entry of South Australia into the Federal Council, and succeeded in passing it. With Mr. Playford, ho represented South Australia at the session of the Federal Council held at Hobart in

February, 1889, and when his colleague was

elected president Mr. Kingston piloted 'through a resolution for enlarging the membershlp of the council, in accordance with views which had been expressed in South Austraila. These resolutions were agreed to by all the Legislatures of the other States but South Australia. The Kingston Government extended the Parliamentary franchise to women, though its leader had not always sup-ported the reform; established the State Bank of South Australia, carried factory legislation, founded the now mostly abandoned village settlements, and introduced the progressive system into land and income taxation and death duties. With Sir George Turner he also drafted the Federal Enabling Bill agreed to at the conference of Australian Premiers at Hobart in 1895.

When the second Federal convention assembled In Adelaide in 1897 Mr. Kingston mas elected president, and served in that

capacity at subsequent meetings in Melbourne, and Sydney. He was appointed Minister of Trade and Customs in the Barton Government. His monumental work in the capaclty of Federal Minister was in connection with the passage of the tariff. Mr. Kingston continued to administer the Customs Act with unprecedented severity until Julv 24, 1903, when the Commonwealth received with great surprise the news of his resignation from the Barton Government.

The strain of an illness which had long menaced bim now told in an unmistakable way upon Mr. Kingston, and a marked change

in his health was noticed. He was saved the trouble of an election campaign by being elected unopposed for the district of Adelaide in December, 1905 ; but he had taken no part in legislation since then, nor had he done so for some time before.


A casual enquiry about the late, Right Hon. Charles Kingston and his father, the late Sir George S. Kingston, prompted me to delve into the interesting history of the Col. Cameron, after whom Charles Cameron Kingston was named. One fact is clear, and that is that little dependance can be placed on ordinary printed records. Burke's Peerage is supposed to be very exact, but on page 1502 of 1884 it says, respecting Sir G. S. Kingston—

"Knighted 30/4/1870, son of George Kingston, of Bandon, born 1807, married first 1829 Harriett Ann Stuart (died 1839), daughter of Capt. Felix McDonough, second, 1851, Ludovina Catherine Da Silva (who died same year) ; third, E. M. A. C. B., daughter of Capt. Thomas Lupson (sic), Adelaide, S.A.

Nearly every statement is more or less erroneous. Mennel's Australian biography says, "Son of George Kingston, of Bandon, Cork, Ire-land. Born 1807, married first time Harriett Ann Stuart, daughter of Capt. Felix MacDonough (who died in 1839); secondly 1841, L. C. da Silva, daughter of Lieut.-Col. Charles G. Cameron, who died same year; and thirdly; E. M. A. C. B. Lipson, daughter of Capt. Thomas Lipson, R.N., died 26/11/1881." This lame narrative is also inaccurate. - Sir George died in 1880, not 1881. Lady Kingston, the third wife, died 28/4/76, and the second wife did not die the same year. —

Arrival in Australia. — The Adelaide Observer (6/11/80) gives an account of Sir George, and (11/12/80) gives his obituary, which correctly says that he arrived per Cygnet first time 11/9/1836, and after visiting Eng land in the Rapid, returned to Adelaide in the Eden (which arrived 24/6/1838), bringing his first wife with him.

Sir George left two surviving sons and three daughters, one being Mrs. Hu-bert Giles. Apparently he was first married in 1829. History is mixed respecting Col. Cameron, the grandfather of Charles Cameron Kingston, and the bio-graphical dictionary does not contain any account of Sir George Kingston or of Col. Cameron, but on page 288 of vol. VIII. is an account of Charles Duncan Cameron, sons of an old peninsula officer, Col. Charles Cameron, of the 3rd Buffs."

This is wrong. Cameron was born in 1827, died 1870, and, as the military records show, could not have been the son of Col. Charles Cameron, of the 3rd "Buffs."Charles Duncan Cameron was the once renowned consul in Abyssinia, whose cap-ture and detention caused the Abyssinian war. The historical records of the Brtish Army contains a long ac-count of the old and celebrated Imperial 3rd Regiment, the Buffs, but has no record of a Col. or Lieut.-Col. Cameron. On page 230, however, it records that at the battle of Albuera Capt. Cameron was wounded and made prisoner. On page 235 it says that (10/11/1813) Capt. Charles Cameron was wounded, and on page 236 Febuary, 1814, Brevet Major Cameron was wounded. In 1814 the Buffs were sent to America, and in 1821 embarked for New South Wales. (23/1/27) one wing em-barked at Sydney for Bengal, and arrived in June, 1827.

The other wing embarked 28/11/1827 for Calcutta, and arrived in February, 1828. I am told by a great grandson of Col. Cameron that the colonel died of cholera at Chinsurah, India, in 1828; but Hennikerr-Heaton's Australian Dictionary of Dates says, "Headquarters of the 3rd Buffs arrived in the Commodore Hayes at Sydney August 29. 1823. and under Col. Stewart embarked at Sydney for England November 28, 1827. The romantic story of Col. Cameron is that, when in Portugal, he met an ex-nun named Da Silva, and married her. They had several daughters and sons. After Col. Cameron's death, his widow married a merchant sea captain named John Finnis.

One daughter married Mr. William Hampden Dutton, who died in Melbourne 21/11/1849, and was one of the earliest settlers in the district of Port Phillip (Register, 12/12/43). Mr. Dutton and his brothers Frederick Hals-borough Dutton, the original owner of An-laby, and F. S. Dutton, who was Agent General for South Australia in London till 25/1/77, when he died, were sons of Frederick Hugh Dutton, who died 27/12/1847 at Rotterdam, and who for many years was British Consul at Cux-haven (Register, 3/3/48). Another married (10/4/1841) Sir George Kingston. A third daughter married the celebrated Dr. George Bennett, who for years resided in Sydney (see Henniker-Heaton, page 233). As to the sons, Henniker-Heaton (page 33) says that Ewan Wallace Cameron was born in France (26/7/1816), and was the second son of Col. Cameron, of the 3rd Buffs. He went to and returned from California, became a partner in T. S. Mort and Co., of Sydney; married in 1852 Sophia. daughter of Mr. George Nail. He was an enthusiastic N.S.W. volunteer, and died (25/5/1876), leaving a large family.

Mrs. Dutton, Charlotte Da Silva Cameron, had a large family, and on December 3, 1851, Luduvina, aged 18, and apparently the Duttons' eldest child, was married by the Rev. T. P. Wilson, in Saint John's Church. Adelaide, to Robert Waters Moore. M.R.C.S., surgeon. The witnesses were F. H. Dutton and Montague Fether-stonhaugh. Among the collection in the S.A. Archives are portraits by S. T. Gill of both.

Fetherstonhaugh and Capt. John Finnis. The latter's portrait seems to lend colour to the rumour that Capt. Fin-nis had some buccaneer experiences. The Southern Australian, 1/9/1838, p. 5, c. 1, records the arrival overland from New South Wales of Capt. Sturt, and Capt. Finnis was one of Capt. Sturt's party. Evidently Capt. Finnis settled in Adelaide, for the directory for 1839 includes Capt. Finnis, North Adelaide. The name does not appear the next year, but does in 1841— 'Mrs. Capt. Finnis, Bernard street, North Adelaide. —Birth of Charles Cameron Kingston.— I have not been able to ascertain how and when Mrs. Finnis arrived, but The Register (7/3/40) records that 2/3/40 the Mary Ridgway arrived from Sydney with Miss Cameron as a passenger. The Register (17/4/41) records that on (10/4/41), at Trinity, the Rev. J. Farrell married G. S. Kingston to Ludovina Da Silva, youngest daughter of the late Lieut. Col. Charles Cameron, of H.M.'s 3rd Regiment. The death register says;

Ludovina Catherine de Silva Kingston, wife of G. S. King-ston, Franklin street, died 21/10/1851, aged 27, so she was born in Sydney in 1824, and was only 17 when she was married to Mr. Kingston. She was married for 10 years and six months, and had three boys and three girls, of whom Charles Cameron Kingston was the youngest child. He was born 22/10/1850, and was not quite a year old when his mother died. Capt. Finnis became the step-father-in-law of Mr. William Hampden, by his marriage to the widow Cameron and the marriage of Mr. Dutton to Charlotte Da Silva Cameron must have occurred in 1833, or before that date, as Mrs. Moore, their first daughter, was only 18 when in 1851 ahe married Dr. Moore. Mrs. Ludu-vina Rosa Finnis, nee Da Silva Cameron, and wife of Capt. Finnis died in Adelaide (21/8/1856). The Register (2/2/39) records that Mr. Hampden Dutton, Capt. Finnis, and Osmond Giles are lucky owners of the Mount Barker specialsurvey, and that Captain Finnis had made a donation to the Hahnsdorfschool house (4/4/39) it mentions that Capt. Finnis with 25,000 sheep and 7,000 cattle was coming over land, and (5/10/39) his arrival is recorded In The Sydney Morning Herald (26/5/1876) and 27/5/1876), and The Town and Country Journal(3/6/76) are the obituary notice and portrait of Ewan Wallace Cameron, son of Col. Cameron and brother of Sir George Kingston's second wife. The notice says he was nearly 60, that he was the second of three sons, and that his mother was a Portuguese lady, who had also three daughters to Col. Came-ron, who was five times wounded, and whose family held letters of high commendation from the Duke of York, Sir John Byng, Lord Fitzroy Somerset (Lord Raglan), and others. Ewan Wallace Cameron came to South Australia with his stepfather, Capt. Finnis, and Capt. Sturt, in the party which his brother-in-law (Mr. Dutton) and others organized. When he returned from Adelaide he took up runs in the north of New South Wales. and when gold was discovered in California he went thither and remained for two years. He was not a successful goldfinder and returned to New South Wales, where in 1852 he married Sophia, daughter of Mr. George Nail, formerly private secretary to Lord Minto. Arthur Kingston Moore, eldest son of Dr. Moore, of Adelaide, married Sophy Cameron, daughter of Ewan Wallace Cameron. The Australian pocket Almanac for 1826, issued by the Sydney Government printer, R. Howe, gives a full account of the 3rd Buffs, then in Sydney.

Sir Henry Clinton was the Colonel(date of rank, 9/8/15), he died in 1828 and Sir George Dow became Colonel. William Stewart (Colonel) was Lieut.-Col. (date of rank, 16/8/1810). He resided in Sydney and as Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales. C. W. Wall(date of rank, 13/9/1821), and Henry Marlay (date of rank. 20/6/1822) were the Buffs majors, and both resided in Sydney. There were 10 captains, and of these C. Cameron (Lieutenant-Colonel) was the senior the date of his rank being 1/12/1804. He lived in Sydney and was acting major brigade. From the records of the Buffs, it appears that Lieut.-Col. Stewart had acted as a Colonel, not necessarily in the Buffs, and that Capt. Charles Cameron had been a Brevet Major and a Lieutenant-Colonel. The regiment, 4/6/1815, embarked from Quebec for Europe, and was ordered to Flanders, but was on the sea when Waterloo was fought. The Buffs landed at Ostend 9/7/1815. The second battalion was disbanded (24/12/15), and only 11 companies were retained— 10 in France and 1 in England. The Buffs formed part of the army of occupation in France till 1818, when they embarked to Calais (31/10/1818) and landed at Dover, comprising 867 non-commissioned officers and men. In 1826 the regiment was in Bhaugulpore, East India, and according to The S.A. Register (4/12/44) was then in India and had been there nearly 16 years.

The disbanding of the second battalion of the Buffs and the drastic army reductions after Waterloo explains possibly why and how Charles Cameron, who had been a Lieutenant Colonel, was only senior captain in 1825. Capt. John Finnis married (3/9/1856) Mary Ann Russell, and a quarrel ensued with Mr. G. S. Kingston. Capt. Finnis died 13/8/72, aged 69, and is buried in West Terrace, on the south side of the main road. Mr. F. S. Dutton married a daughter of Marshal MacDer-mot; Judge Stow married her sister. Samuel Tomkinson married another sister, and Mr. Taylor, connected with Elder, Stirling, and Co. and the Wallaroo Mines: married the other of the four Misses MacDermot. Capt. Finnis owned the Joseph Albino schooner, which in 1849 sailed from Port Adelaide for California with a full compliment of passengers. She arrived in San Francisco, but was seized for alleged smuggling, and as the master had now crew on board and could get no hearing from the American officials, he had to leave the vessel at anchor in San- Francisco and return to Adelaide, bringing the ship's clearance. Thus Capt. Finnis lost his vessel. The above appeared an portion of Saturday's Issue.

[http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63742501 "CHARLES CAMERON KINGSTON." The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) 4 December 1922: 10. Web. 17 Sep 2016\

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Hon. Charles Cameron Kingston, QC's Timeline

October 22, 1850
Adelaide, South Australia
November 6, 1887
South Australia, Australia
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
May 11, 1908
Age 57
Adelaide, South Australia