Richard Ash Kingsford
In Loving Memory Of
Richard Ash Kingsford
Who Entered Into Rest
On the 2nd January 1902
Aged 80 years.
I Will Lay Me Down in Peace and Take My Rest
It Is The Night
And God Hath Given His Beloved Sleep.
The Stars are Bright and as He Lieth in These Shadows Deep
The Watchman Bendeth O’er Him From the Height
And Guards His Night.
Erected by His Widow
Headstone: (polished granite, large red granite pedestal stepped rectangular, columns, engraved with ornate old English “K”)
Stonemason: E L Thumm, Brisbane
Richard Ash Kingsford was born 2 October 1821 in Canterbury, Kent, England to John Kingsford and Mary Walker.
He married Sarah Southerden in Kent, England in 1851. They had three daughters and one son. After the death of Sarah he married Emma Jane Dexter 31 August 1892 in Launceston, Tasmania. Richard and Emma had one daughter.
The Australian Dictionary of Biography describes Richard A. Kingsford as a “merchant, politician and landowner”. He arrived in Sydney in 1852 and two years later moved to Brisbane as a partner in a drapery store. In Brisbane he was elected to the Legislative Assembly as the representative of the South Brisbane. He also served as an alderman and was elected Lord Mayor of Brisbane in 1876.
In the early 1880s he moved to Cairns where his eldest daughter Catherine and son-in-law, William Charles Smith, lived. He became an active member of the Cairns community. In 1884 he was chairman of the Cairns Divisional Board. On 22 July 1885 he was elected as mayor of the new Cairns municipality. As president of the School of Arts he helped establish Cairns first library. He was also senior justice of the peace for North Queensland and served on the Licensing Board. In 1888 he stood unsuccessfully for the seat of Cairns in the Legislative Assembly.
During his time in Cairns he owned a number of properties in and around the town. Shortly after he arrived he selected a property near Kuranda for the purpose of growing fruit. In 1890 he bought the Hambleton Sugar Plantation, which he sold to the Colonial Sugar Refining Company in 1897. In the 1890s he built “Fairview House” at Mooroobool. This lovely home was known as the “house on the hill”. (In World War II the house was the experimental station for Z-force of the Inter-Allied Services Department)
Richard A Kingsford died in Cairns 2 January 1902.
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, the famous Australian aviator, is his grandson.
The Australian Dictionary of Biography describes him as “tall, heavily-bearded and dignified. His speeches in parliament show his liberal mind and generous understanding of others. He was widely read and his rich fund of apt quotations was used to good effect both in the pulpit and in parliament. He was devoutly religious and loyal to his colleagues.”
Information Compiled By: Cairns District Family History Society Inc.