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Sir Herbert Kingsley Paine (1883–1972)

by K. P. McEvoy

This article was published:

Sir Kingsley Paine, 1970s

Sir Kingsley Paine, 1970s

photo supplied by John Waldsax

Sir Herbert Kingsley Paine (1883-1972), judge, was born on 26 January 1883 at Gawler, South Australia, second child of Herbert Paine (d.1891), an accountant from England, and his South Australian-born wife Helen, née Milne (d.1885). After his father died of typhoid fever, Kingsley was raised by his guardian, the solicitor S. B. Rudall. Taught at a local school (run by the Misses Lewis) and by a private tutor, he later boarded at the Collegiate School of St Peter, Adelaide, where he won the Farrell open scholarship (1897), the Young exhibition (1899) and the Westminster scholarship (1900). He coached a fellow prefect, Essington Lewis, in Latin and became his lifelong friend.

In 1902 Paine was articled to W. R. Lewis at Gawler and in 1904 to T. R. Bright at Gilberton. Graduating from the University of Adelaide (LL.B., 1904), he was admitted to the South Australian Bar on 19 April 1905. He conducted a general legal practice at Port Pirie and Gawler for three years. By 1908 he was confidential clerk to W. J. Denny in Adelaide. At St Augustine's Anglican Church, Unley, on 8 October 1912 he married Amy Muriel Pearson; they were to have two sons and two daughters. In partnership with H. W. Uffindell, he practised at Wallaroo, Kadina and Moonta until 1922 when he was employed as a special magistrate at Wallaroo.

Paine was transferred in 1923 to the Adelaide Local Court Department. He was appointed a judge in insolvency (1926) and a judge of the local court (1927). In 1926 he was assigned to a royal commission to investigate allegations that members of the South Australian police force had taken bribes. Although evidence proved difficult to obtain, he concluded that bribery had occurred for some years, involving bookmakers and a number of officers. A member of a range of statutory boards and tribunals, Paine acted as returning officer for various electoral districts and eventually for the State. As chairman of the Farmers' Assistance Board he played 'an important part in the rehabilitation of wheatgrowers adversely affected by . . . the depression of the 1930s'. He also served as an adjudicator on wheat contracts.

In 1943 Paine headed the committee of inquiry into South Australia's electricity supply. Its report advocated the development of local sources of fuel, especially at Leigh Creek, and recommended the appointment of a co-ordinating authority to oversee all matters connected with the generation and supply of power. Four weeks after the findings were presented, the State Electricity Commission was established. From 1947 to 1951 Paine chaired the royal commission on transport services in South Australia. Following an extensive survey of the systems operating on land and waterways, the commission recommended the creation of a ministry of transport, with a co-ordinating authority to advise the minister. Paine was appointed C.M.G. in 1944 and knighted in 1953.

After retiring as a judge of the local court in 1948, Paine served as an acting puisne judge of the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1949-50 and 1951-52. For the most part he presided over divorce cases, claims for damages and traffic infringements. Displaying a first-rate mind, he got straight to the issue, even in involved cases. He travelled to work by tram until he was 88.

Sir Kingsley resigned as a judge in insolvency early in 1972. Survived by a son and a daughter, he died on 3 November that year in North Adelaide and was cremated. His elder son Robert had been killed in action (1943) in New Guinea during World War II.

Select Bibliography

  • Honorary Magistrate, 31 Dec 1926, p 672
  • Observer (Adelaide), 30 Oct 1926
  • Advertiser (Adelaide), 1 Jan 1944, 25 Mar 1949, 1 Jan 1953, 2 Mar 1971, 8 Nov 1972
  • 'Tributes to His Honour the Late Sir Kingsley Paine' (typsecript, Bankruptcy Court, Adelaide)
  • private information.

Additional Resources

Citation details

K. P. McEvoy, 'Paine, Sir Herbert Kingsley (1883–1972)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 2000, accessed online 27 May 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, (Melbourne University Press), 2000

View the front pages for Volume 15

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Sir Kingsley Paine, 1970s

Sir Kingsley Paine, 1970s

photo supplied by John Waldsax

Life Summary [details]


26 January, 1883
Gawler, South Australia, Australia


3 November, 1972 (aged 89)
North Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Cultural Heritage

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