Kingscote is the largest town on Kangaroo Island, with a population of about 1,200. It is a well established tourist centre, and also the administrative and communications centre.
The South Australia Company first established its colony at Kingscote at Reeves Point on 27 July 1836, as South Australia’s first official European settlement. It was later suggested that Kingscote could serve as the capital of South Australia, but the island’s resources were insufficient to support such a large community; the South Australia Company moving almost six months later to Adelaide after having sent surveyors to find a better site.
The history of the area is displayed in the museum in Hope Cottage, located to the north of the town. Hope Cottage was one of the three earliest houses built in Kingscote, (circa 1850) together with the adjoining cottages of Faith and Charity.
The Old Mulberry Tree at Reeves Point was planted in 1836, and still bears fruit. Reeves Point has been placed on the Australian Heritage Places List. Kingscote is in the Kangaroo Island Council local government area, the South Australian House of Assembly electoral district of Finniss and the Australian House of Representatives Division of Mayo.
Kingscote has a school offering years 1 to 12, a modern hospital, one major supermarket, post office and Government offices. It is the administrative centre for the Kangaroo Island Council, whose offices have recently undergone a significant upgrade. There is an extensive wharf and jetty, formerly utilised by the roll on, roll off vessels, Troubridge and Island Seaway. Kingscote has a unique tidal swimming pool, plus a sports centre and adjoining oval and netball courts. The Ozone Hotel, with its mermaid statue, is a well known landmark on the Kingscote foreshore.