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  • Familia1987article
  • Familia1987article

John King – An Ulster Explorer of Australia

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 03, 1987


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By William B. Alderdice

"John King was the first person to cross the continent of Australia from south to north, from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1860/61, and return alive.

He was my great grandfather's brother and was born on December 15th, 1838, on the Benburb Road, Moy, Co. Tyrone. The exact spot is still known by the local residents as 'King's Garden'.

A few hundred yards away stands the little cottage where his brother Tom lived all his life. This was the cottage John called 'Home'. Today it still stands, deserted and unnoticed behind a laurel hedge near to the Council Dump.

Close by was 'Camp Park Hill', which received its name from being the site of Owen Roe O'Neill's camp before the battle of Benburb in 1646. A short distance away is Lager Hill graveyard, where many of Cromwell's soldiers who died in battle were buried."

This article looks at John King, the first person to cross Australia from south to north, and return alive.