Undated postcard of Kingston Beach (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)
Kingston, an early rural area 12 km south of Hobart, supplied vegetables, fruit, meat, dairy and poultry to this city, but is now a suburb. The population in 2001 was 14,827.
In 1804 botanist Robert Brown visited the area, and his name was later given to the river which enters the Derwent here. The first European settler was Thomas Lucas, a First Fleeter who took up a grant of 180 acres in 1808. Other settlers followed, and towards 1840 some ten settlers with their households and servants lived in the area, while by 1845 a convict-built toll road linked it with the markets in Hobart Town.
Slowly the population grew, and the Browns River township, renamed Kingston, was formally proclaimed in 1851. The construction in 1887 of a jetty at Kingston Beach facilitated transport of produce and livestock. The first meeting of the Kingborough Municipal Council took place in 1908, and its activities concentrated on public works and encouraging development of this area as a Hobart holiday resort.
After the Second World War a new wave of development followed; a housing shortage in Hobart and the arrival of migrants from 1950 created a steady housing boom, further encouraged by the construction of the Southern Outlet Road between Kingston and Hobart (1969–90) and the establishment in 1974 of the headquarters of the Commonwealth Antarctic Division, which manages Australia's research efforts in Antarctica. The township has several shopping centres, banks, industrial estates, medical facilities, two state and three private schools, and several churches.
Further reading: J Gardam, Brown's River, Kingston, 1988.