History of West Australia/Walter Kingsmill


Walter Kingsmill HOFWA.jpg
Photo by
Greenham & Evans.

MUCH yet remains to be done in the way of development in the north-west districts of this huge colony. There are resources, perhaps, unsurpassable in any part of Western Australia, but as yet they have not been blessed with popular and speculative appreciation. Yet it must be admitted that much solid work of development has been undertaken through the industrious and confident energy of private enterprise and the more limited collective strength of local syndicates. The auriferous resources of these distant territories are great, and time alone will reveal to the world the hidden wealth.

Pilbarra has been fortunate in the ascending hours of its mineral importance in procuring the Parliamentary services of so able a political representative as Mr. Kingsmill. He was born at Glenelg, South Australia, in 1864, and received his early educational training at St. Peter's College, Adelaide. A clever and studious pupil through his school curriculum, it was considered best for his future welfare that he should enter the arena of the Adelaide University. With considerable aptitude for scholastic and didactic studies, he brought himself into the foreground of prominence in his class, and capped his hitherto successful efforts by graduating at the close of his career of studentdom. On leaving the university, as a full-fledged graduate, he entered the services of the Government, and attached himself for some time to the Geological Department. In this scientific division he gained his first glimpses into the highest principles of mining, and acquired much useful information that proved of great subsequent value to him. Having thus set out on the highway to a mineralogical career, he determined to follow it up on the narrower and more uncertain paths of individual enterprise. At Teetulpa and Manna Hill, in South Australia, he went mining for a considerable time, and grew more attached to the pursuit. Then he went to the Barrier silver mines, on the borders of New South Wales, and engaged with alacrity in several mining and prospecting ventures. But success did not altogether coincide with anticipations, and he resolved to seek the unexplored regions of the west.

Arriving in Western Australia in 1888, he first traversed the southern districts, and late in 1889 reached the more minerally productive fields of the north-west. Mr, Kingsmill enthusiastically engaged in extensive prospecting tours in the Egina, Nullagine, Coongan, and Turner districts. Success, though moderate, was yet satisfying. Marble Bar became his headquarters, from which he sallied forth to many distant points. His connection with mining was by now widely recognised. The Government appointed him Mining Registrar at Marble Bar. This appointment he held for nearly twelve months, till it was superseded by more responsible and remunerative duties. His ability and skill soon attracted the notice of syndicates and groups interested in Westralian ventures, and Mr. Kingsmill was appointed representative of several large and influential colonial and English syndicates. The promotion so meritorious]y deserved was appreciated by many, who recognised in him a competent and worthy person to assume the arduous duties involved in the conferment of such a financially desirable post. His name has been for long identified with public matters in the north-west, and on the Pilbarra Roads Board he sits as an energetic member. In sporting matters he has taken an active and lively part, and the Marble Bar Race Club owes not a little to the enterprising ability and sympathy of Mr. Kingsmill.

When the elections of 1896 came on Mr. Kingsmill was requisitioned to stand as a candidate, and the result of the poll shoved him returned by a substantial majority to the House of Assembly. In politics, Mr. Kingsmill is a man of independent views, but with strong leanings towards democratic principles. His political tenets and dogmas are not the unsifted convictions of the many, but broad and logical conclusions of an educated and well-trained mind. By the sunlight of realism he sees what is best in the interests of his constituents and the colony as a whole, and the practical and the possible are by him rendered supreme to the theoretically speculative and visionary. Mr. Kingsmill is clear-headed and consistent. He possesses a fund of ripe knowledge, and is quick to clinch persuasively the principle he supports.

Mr. Kingsmill's political success would meet with warm appreciation and gladness in the breasts of the citizens of Pilbarra.