Stephen King, South Australian History

Stephen King.

Stephen King arrived in South Australia in January 1839 on the Orleana with his wife Martha and their two years old daughter Matilda. They settled near the North Para River, close to Gawler, and called their property Kingsford. They had four more daughters and one son. This son, Stephen, was born on 15 December 1841.

In 1861 they were visited by John William Billiatt, a cousin from England who stayed with them for a considerable time. Billiatt was not overly impressed with the nearby town of Gawler which he thought 'badly built' and everything else very dull. He also noted that many houses were unoccupied.

Stephen King and Billiatt both joined John McDouall Stuart on his successful trip across Australia in October 1861. King was often sent out by Stuart scouting for water and when they reached some ponds on Friday 2 May 1862 Stuart named them King's Chain of Ponds in token of his 'approbation and care of, and attention to, the horses, and his readiness and care in executing all my orders'. It turned out a very nice place and they spent several days there at a later time.

Stuart was more than pleased with King whom he described as the quietest, most unassuming, most respectful, ever attentive and zealous to perform the duties entrusted to his care.

After his travels with Stuart, Stephen returned home and took several months recovering from his ordeal before droving sheep. He later became involved with surveying in the Northern Territory, in particular Darwin and the Overland Telegraph Line. Other surveys by King included Rendelsham, near Millicent, in September 1879.

On this survey he took his second wife and they lived in tents for most of the time. They were to have 9 children. One of them drowned in a well at Blackford near Kingston where it was buried. Daughter Martha Annie Ramsay later enlisted as a staff nurse on 20 July 1915 to serve overseas during WWI. She worked at Lemnos, Abbassia, France and England. She died in 1982, aged 92.

Another survey carried out by Stephen was on the Gibson Peninsula, near Streaky Bay, in 1885. King died in 1915 and his second wife Louisa in 1951, aged 95.


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