Kingston South East
Substantial fishing and lobster port on the
Located 297 km south east of Adelaide, Kingston
South East is a substantial port famous for its
lobsters. It also happens to be the home of the
Big Lobster, one of those wonderfully quirky 'bigs'
which Australians seem to love to build.
Before the arrival of Europeans this whole
area was settled by the Ngarranjeri Aborigines
who lived along the Coorong and extended across
the Murray River to the present day site of
The first European to make contact with this
stretch of coastline (except for the itinerant
sealers who drifted along the coast from
earliest times) was the French explorer Nicolas
Baudin who discovered Lacepede Bay in 1802.
The district was the subject of a much
publicised tragedy in 1840 when the Maria was
wrecked off the coast. The Maria left Adelaide
bound for Hobart on 7 June, 1840. About 28 June
it was wrecked off the coast near Lacepede Bay
but the crew and passengers managed to get to
shore. It appears that the sailors began trying
to take advantage of the local Aboriginal women.
As a form of reprisal 25 of the 26 survivors
were killed. One young girl survived and was
looked after by the Ngarranjeri people until
eventually handed over to Europeans.
The town of Kingston (it only became Kingston
South East to distinguish it from
Kingston-on-Murray) was established Archibald
and James Cooke took up land near Maria Creek in
1856. The town was named after the government
surveyor, George Strickland Kingston, by the
Governor of South Australia, Governor McDonnell,
The Cooke brothers saw the potential of the
area and duly sublet some of their land and
built the first jetty. They were largely
responsible for the wool stores which were built
in the town. It was formally proclaimed a port
in 1866 and it was in that year that the town
got both a police station and a post office.
Today Kingston South East is a charming
coastal town which is an ideal holiday
destination for people seeking somewhere which
is quiet and peaceful.
Things to see:
The Big Lobster
Standing 18.2 metres high and made out of
fibreglass this is a seriously big object which
can be justified by the fact that Kingston SE is
one of Australia's best lobster/crayfish fishing
areas. There is a restaurant and gift shop
underneath the lobster.
|The stone sea
lion and sundial on the outskirts of the
Sundail of Human Involvement and
Sculptures on Maria Creek Island.
The sun dial of Human Involvement is located at
Maria Creek adjacent to Apex Park. It was, when
it was completed, one of only eight in the
world. There is a detailed brochure on the sun
dial which explains the way it works.
The sculpture which surrounds it was created
by the town's sculpture in residence, a South
Australian artist named Silvio Apponyi. No
matter which direction you approach Kingston SE
you cannot miss the sculptures and the sun dial.
There is an elephant seal and cub, a
blue-tongued lizard, a Japanese crab all carved
from large granite rocks. The aim was to involve
local citizens in the sculpture. Each day people
would bring fish, crabs, frogs, lizards,
seaweed, shells and even dead birds to Silvio
and suggest that he sculpt them. There is also a
wonderful feeling of the sculptures being living
creatures because some of them seem to have
crept away from the island in Maria Creek. There
is a shingle-back lizard behind the Wood Hut
craft shop, a mulloway in the town's Lions Park
and a kangaroo is near the Aboriginal burial
ground at the north-western corner of the town.
The island also has a memorial to Queen Ethel
the area's last full blood Aboriginal who died
as recently as 1954.
Self Guided Walk
There is a useful sheet of paper titled Kingston
Historical Walk which is available around the
town. It lists 22 buildings and locations of
historic interest in the town. Included are
Otter House, 82 Cooke St (1856) (privately
owned); Vine Cottage, 67 Cooke St (1870)
(privately owned); Goode's House, 61 Cooke St
(privately owned); Whisson's, 59 Cooke St
(privately owned) and Henstridge's, 14 & 16
Cooke St built in the late 1800's (privately
Located at 23 Cooke St this interesting building
was originally a timber mill. It was built in
1872 and is now owned by the National Trust. The
museum contains the usual collection of
memorabilia with a strong emphasis on nautical
objects and some well preserved old gowns.
Gaol and Police Station
Now Justin's Antiques located at 1 Cooke St
(1864) this historic building once served the
town as a police station, courthouse and gaol
until 1961 when a more modern building was
constructed in Hanson Street.
Located at 1 Hanson Street it was built in 1866
and opened in 1867. The design was from the
Colonial Architect's Office and the builders
were Hodson & Johns. It achieved a brief moment
of glory in 1982 when it was chosen to appear on
a special Commonwealth stamp issue.
Old Court House
Located at 2 Hanson St and completed in 1869-70
the Old Court House is characterised by high
ceilings, some very unusually shaped doors and
particularly attractive windows. It is no longer
During the Bicentennial year the community
restored the old Power Engine which had
historically provided Kingston SE with its
electricity needs from 1947 to 1974. It is now
located in Lions Park.
Amazingly the jetty, which is now over 100 years
old, is still being used. Safcol, the fish
processing company, still use the railway line
to bring fish to their factory from the end of
the jetty. The jetty's history is one of trying
to juggle a very shallow coastal range with the
problems of the southern ocean. The first jetty
was built in 1864-65 and was 511 feet long but
it ended in water which was only a little over 1
metre deep. In 1876 a second jetty - 4000 feet
long - was built and it ended up in water which
was 5 metres deep. Unfortunately it was wrecked
in 1923, rebuilt and then wrecked again in 1956.
The current jetty is a remnant of that original
If you are interested in seeing the lobster
fleet return with their daily catches of
crayfish make the trip down the coast to Cape
Jaffa. Each day, at approximately 1.00 p.m., the
fishermen return with their crayfish. Around the
point at are the ruins of the original
Trust Cape Jaffa lighthouse
Cape Jaffa Lighthouse
The Cape Jaffa lighthouse was built in 1868-1872
on Margaret Brock Reef, 8 km from shore and 19
km south from here and rebuilt on this site
1975-76. It is open 2.00 p.m. - 4.30 p.m. on
holidays. It is an unusual wood and iron
construction which was built between 1868-72 by
G. Wells and W.F. King. The lighthouse, which
has an unusual steel frame, also included an
eight bedroom house. One of the magnifying lens
weighs 2 tonnes. It was the first lighthouse on
the Australian coast to be dismantled and
brought to the mainland.
Mt. Benson Wine Region
Located 28 km south of Kingston SE off the main
road to Robe (turn at Wrights Bay Road) this
vineyard takes advantage of the area's fine red
(terra rossa) soils. It offers a range of red
wines. Contact (08) 8768 6251 for opening times.
Recently it was open from 10.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.
Cape Jaffa Wines
Located on Salt Well Road (drive 16 km south of
Kingston SE and turn towards Cape Jaffa), Cape
Jaffa Wines exploits the local terra rossa
soils. The vineyard currently grows cabernet
sauvignon, shiraz, merlot, petite verdot,
cabernet franc, chardonnay, semillon and
sauvignon blanc. For cellar door opening times
and more information contact Derek Hooper on
(08) 8768 5053.
Mount Scott Conservation Park
This park, located 20 km east of Kingston SE on
the road to Keith, is a former coastal dune. It
is ideal for bushwalking with the stringy bark
forest being an ideal home for sugar gliders,
wombats and mallee fowl.
Butcher's Gap Conservation Park
Located 6km south of Kingston this park contains
wetlands and dense coastal vegetation. Both are
ideal for birds. There is a walking trail at the
northern end of the park.
Lying to the north of Kingston SE is Long Beach.
It is approximately 100 km long and is the
southern end of The Coorong. It is known to
fishermen as one of the best surf fishing
destinations in Australia. It is the destination
for an Annual Surf Fishing competition which is
held each January long weekend. The winners
usually have caught something pretty