Accidental Architect: the Life and Times of George Strickland Kingston

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Media: BOOK - paperback 296 pages
Author: D. Langmead
Year: 1991
Other: maps, bibliography, index
Publisher: Crossing Press

As new - slight fading on spine

George Kingston (1807-80) was born in Bandon, County Cork, and trained as an engineer in Birmingham. In London he helped to settle South Australia, heading up the first official party in 1836.

As Deputy Surveyor General, he walked the Adelaide plain to recommend a site for the city to his ailing superior. Kingston bore the brunt of laying it out as well as criticism for delays. He was soon the colony's first architect, self-educated and practical. Kingston's mark on South Australia is not in architecture yet his solid, if uninspired, public buildings gave substance to the fledgling capital.

Dr Langmead presents the clearest view yet of Kingston's many-sided career and sheds new light on the local and London smear campaigns that have denied Kingston the credit for his energetic part in founding South Australia. Wide-ranging research produces a fairer view.

Without heroising Kingston, Langmead strikes a balance between Kingston's long political career — he was Speaker of the House of Assembly for over twenty years — his architecture and other activities, and his personal life.

Accidental Architect includes a thorough survey of Kingston's architectural and other commissions, and reconstructs his library for its insights into his sources and ideas. A bibliography extends to a critical survey of works attributed to Kingston.

Dr Donald Langmead is Head of the Louis Laybourne Smith School of Architecture in the University of South Australia at Adelaidewhere he teaches the history of architecture.


1 'Where all the Pigs are Protestants'
2 'Man and Master'
3 An Old Colonist
4 Privations and Trials
5 A Site for the City
6 'The Veriest Set of Buggers'
7 Reluctant Surveyor
8 Zeal and Ability
9 Mr. Kingston, C.E.
10 A Fall from Grace
11 The Path to Prosperity
12 The Honourable G.S.Kingston, M.P.
13 Mr. Speaker
14 The Antihero as Architect

EPILOGUE: A Legacy for South Australia
A: Public Works by G.S. Kingston 1838-1841
B: Private Architectural Commissions 1838-1877
C: Buildings attributed to G.S.Kingston in published sources
D: Architectural publications owned by G.S.Kingston
E: Epitome of Kingston's Parliamentary Career
F: South Australian Architects 1838-1880

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