Phillip Parker King 1791-1856
A Most Admirable Australian
by Brian Douglas Abbott

About the book

The book tells the story of the life of Phillip Parker King who was inextricably linked with the establishment of the colony of New South Wales. His father, Philip Gidley King, sailed to Botany Bay on HMS Sirius as Governor Phillip’s second in command in 1787, and Lt. PG King was given the responsibility of establishing the penal settlement on Norfolk Island.

PG King’s son, Phillip Parker King was born on Norfolk Island in 1791.

He entered the Royal Navy in 1807 and served in the Napoleon Wars. During this time he developed his surveying skills to such a level he was chosen as the ideal person to complete the work of Matthew Flinders.

His maritime exploration and survey work around Australia 1817-1822 were of heroic proportions. Later, his hydrographic work in the Magellan Straits 1826-1830 laid the platform for the famous voyage of HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin 1831-1836.

After he completed is survey work he returned to Australia where his family had significant land interests, and he quickly gravitated to the center of colonial social life and its scientific community.

In 1838 King was appointed Resident Commissioner of the Australian Agricultural Company, the colonial behemoth of its day, where he remained until 1849.

King was promoted Admiral of the Blue in 1855 and died in 1856. He was the first Australian born person to reach the rank of Admiral.

As part of Artuccino’s Australian colonial history reading challenge for 2013, I will be reading Brian Abbott’s wonderful book “Phillip Parker King 1791-1856, A Most Admirable Australian“.