Phillip Parker King 1791-1856
by Brian Abbott


“The life of Phillip Parker King 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. King was given the responsibility of establishing the penal settlement on Norfolk Island. King was born on Norfolk Island in 1791. He entered the Royal Navy in 1807 and served in the Napoleon Wars. His maritime exploration and survey work around Australia 1817-1822 has been well documented, and is also covered in this book.

“What is to fully appreciated are the remaining major achievements in an extraordinary life. His hydrographic work in the Magellan Straits 1826-1830 laid the platform for the famous voyage of HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin 1831-1836. King returned to Australia where his family had significant land interests, and he quickly gravitated to the centre 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.

“No comprehensive biography of King has been previously attempted. The author has exhaustively research the original King records, and his work is a detailed an comprehensive account of King’s life.”

Source: The back cover of the book


“Brian Abbott BA, M.Litt (New England),I.L.B., I.L.M. (Sydney) has had a lifelong interest in history extending from ancient Greece and Rome and the progress of western civilisation from the Dark Ages, through the Medieval period and into modern European history. Over the last decade, he has had a particular interest in and pursued research from primary sources into early Australian Colonial history.

“The author is a direct descendant of Phillip Parker King and it was this connection which sparked his interest in a biography of King. He felt King to be under-recognised and hence a biography was long overdue. Nevertheless, he has applied a rigorously objective approach to his subject.

“Brian Abbott was born at Glen Innes NSW, and attended The King’s School, Parramatta. He obtained postgraduate degrees from the University of Sydney (Law) and the University of New England (History), and has published various legal works. His approach has been to base his research on the available primary source documents and records, to assess the circumstances through themes of King and his contemporaries, and not to colour or fictionalise the course of events.”

Source: The inside back cover of the book

ISBN: 9780646572949 (hbk)

First published by Glenburgh Pty Ltd – 2012
Copyright Glenburgh Pty Limited
ACN 000 843 005
Trading as: 4HBR
Post Office Box 1166, Armidale, NSW 2350, Australia

First published simultaneously with the publication by the Friends of the State Library of South Australia (as Australian Publications) of a facsimile of PP King’s Australian Narrative (1826)