Kingston SE is a town approximately 297 km southeast of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, and 44 km from the town of Robe. It is at the southeastern end of Encounter Bay and the Coorong. The town was named after George Strickland Kingston, an Australian politician and architect. The extension on its name is to distinguish Kingston in the South East (of South Australia) from another ‘Kingston’ in the state which is now officially named “Kingston-On-Murray”. The main industries are fishing, winemaking, sheep and dairy farming and recreation, the district having a large influx of tourists during holiday periods throughout the year.
The northern entrance to the town is dominated by a big lobster fondly named “Larry” by people in Kingston. Many great pubs, hotels, and shops can be found, and Kingston also hosts one of the best fish and chip shops in Australia. “Macs Takeaway” has twice won awards for their outstanding fish and chips.
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, in 1858.
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.