Admiral Phillip Parker
(13 December 1791 – 26 February 1856)
was an early explorer of the Australian
born on Norfolk
Island, to Philip Gidley
King and Anna Josepha King
née Coombe, and named for his father's mentor, Arthur Phillip, which explains the difference
in spelling of his and his father's first names.
England for education in 1796.
King joined the
Royal Naval Academy
in 1802 and entered the Royal Navy
1807 where he was promoted to lieutenant
King was assigned to survey the parts of the Australian coast not
already examined by Matthew
, and made four voyages between December 1817 and April
1822. Amonst the 19-man crew were Allan Cunningham
, John Septimus Roe
and the aborigine Bungaree
. The first three trips were in the 76
tonne cutter HMS Mermaid
, but the vessel was
grounded in 1820.
The Admiralty instructed King to discover whether there was any
river 'likely to lead to an interior navigation into this great
continent'. The Colonial Office had given instructions to collect
information about topography, fauna, timber, minerals, climate, and
the natives and the prospects of developing trade with them. From
February 1818 until June the coast was surveyed as far as Van
Diemen's Gulf and there were many meetings with Aboriginals and
Malay proas. In June the Mermaid visited Timor and then
returned to Sydney, arriving on 29 July. Next December and
January King surveyed the recently discovered Macquarie
Harbour in Van Diemen's Land and sailed in May 1819 for Torres Strait.
King took John Oxley
as far as the
Hastings River, and continued on to survey the coast between Cape
Wessel and Admiralty Gulf. King returned to Sydney on 12 January
Voyages of King
King's fourth voyage was undertaken in the 154 tonne sloop HMS
. The ship headed north, through Torres Strait and to the north-west coast of the
continent. Further survey of the west coast was made
after a visit to Mauritius.
Valuable contributions had been made to the
exploration of Australia.
King had been promoted to commander
July 1821, and in April 1823 returned to England. He subsequently
commanded the survey vessel HMS
Adventure, and in company with HMS Beagle, spent five years surveying
the complex coasts around the Strait of Magellan. The result was presented at a meeting of the
Geographical Society in 1831.
King owned a property at Dunheved
in the western suburbs of Sydney where he entertained Charles
Darwin on Darwin's last night in Sydney in January 1836.
In February 1839, King was appointed to the New South Wales Legislative
, and in April the same year was appointed resident
commissioner of the Australian Agricultural
, a position he held for ten years.In 1855 King was
promoted to Rear admiral
on the retired
list.King was a Fellow of the Royal
King was honored on the 2-pound postage
of Australia in 1963. The Australian native orchid Dendrobium
has been named after him.
- Sailing Directions to the Coasts of Eastern and Western
Patagonia, and the Straits of Magellan and the Sea-Coast of Tierra
del Fuego, 1832