Kingdon, William (1842-1894)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by G James

WILLIAM KINGDON came to New South Wales thirty-two years ago. He was converted to God through the agency of the Primitive Methodists, and at once joined the society. His family occupied a good social position in Plymouth, and our brother was favoured with a good plain education. Soon after his conversion he was put on the Local Preachers’ Plan, and it became evident that God had called him for a wider sphere than that of a local preacher The Rev. Moses Lupton, who was at that time Missionary Secretary, being on a visit to Plymouth, encouraged our brother to become a candidate for the ministry. To quit his business prospects was, no doubt, in a financial sense, a sacrifice; but he did not confer with flesh and blood His first station in England was Deal and Dover; he also laboured at Chatham.

In the year 1862 he came to New South Wales. His first station was Goulburn, which at that time was very extensive and hard to work. The journeys were long, roads were bad, and at times the river, over which there were few bridges, was dangerous to cross. He was sent to reside at Jerrawa, a typical bush settlement His lodgings were not the most comfortable. He had often to ride from Jerrawa to Wingeecarribee, a distance of a hundred miles. He preached at what is now the beautiful town of Bowral when there were only a few huts and canvas tents; and a good number of souls were converted. His next station was Wollongong. Here he had a hard struggle against denominational prejudices and financial embarrassments; but his labours were owned of God and sinners were converted. 

He subsequently laboured on the Young, Morpeth, Camden, Waterloo, Wallsend, Mudgee, Balmain, and St. Peter’s stations. While at St. Peter’s his health completely broke down. and he was compelled to seek for superannuation After living a while in the suburbs of Sydney he removed with his family to Minto. The elevated position of the place, the pure and bracing air, proved of great benefit to his health, and at one time he cherished the hope of resuming his regular work but God ordered it otherwise. While on a visit to Sydney he was taken very ill, and soon all hope of his recovery had to be abandoned. On September 28th, 1894, at the house of Mr. Downs, his father-in-law, at Petersham, he died. 

He was loyal to the church amid all the hardships which the ministers in the past had to endure. As a preacher he was able, his sermons were carefully prepared, full of thought, and as a rule were expressed in beautiful language. His end was peace.


William was born in 1842 at Plymouth, Devon, to parents William, a warrant officer, and Elizabeth.

He arrived in Sydney on 26 January 1862 on the ‘Nourmahal’.

He married Martha Townsend (1843-1889) in 1864 at Goulburn, New South Wales. Records identify seven children

  • Catherine Elizabeth (1865-1929) – married James Michael Augustus Steel, a colliery screen overseer, in 1888
  • William George (1867-1896)
  • Augustus H (1869-1869)
  • Ida Martha (1871-1904) – married Henry F Jay in 1900
  • Lilly May (1874-1951)
  • Ethel Elsie (1877-1954)
  • Harold (1885-1890)

He married Rose E.S. Downes in 1891 at Glebe, New South Wales. Records identify one child.

  • Winifred Lillian (1892-1969) – married Thomas Canterbury, a bacon curer (1937), in 1911

William died on 28 October 1894 at Petersham, New South Wales, Australia.


  • 1860 Dover & Deal
  • 1861 Chatham
  • 1862 Goulburn – Australia
  • 1864 Wollongong
  • 1867 Morpeth
  • 1871 Young
  • 1874 Waterloo
  • 1876 Camden
  • 1880 Mudgee
  • 1884 Wallsend
  • 1887 Balmain
  • 1890 Newtown
  • 1892 Minto (S)


PM Minutes 1895/21

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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