We arrived in South Australia to hear and read the extraordinary story about Charles Kingston, a colonial Premier and founder of Australia, being exhumed for a paternity test at the request of an Adelaide businessman.
Sounds like something out of Monty Python doesn’t it?
“The Attorney-General, Michael Atkinson, approved an application to exhume the body of Charles Cameron Kingston, one of the Fathers of Federation, as part of a paternity case,” the Adelaide Advertiser reports.
The bodies of two other people suspected of being Kingston’s illegitimate offspring also were exhumed. They are Genevieve Grey and AA “Bert” Edwards.
The paper gives no details about the process to exhume a body, how much it cost or what the relatives thought. Amazing.
I can’t really believe this is happening. Surely the dead are sacred and should only be disturbed if there is a forensic legal reason for doing so.
A third generation paternity case hardly fits into that category.
University boffin Professor Maciej Henneberg, partnered by fellow boffin and former Premier John Bannon, said the work being undertaken was personal and historic.
“The businessman alleged he and his sister are illegitimate descendants of Charles Kingston . . . there also are suggestions there were other illegitimate children and that is why we are following the historic side. It is important for the history of this state that it be resolved,” he said.
Why is it so important to dig up three dead people?
Every family has skeletons in the cupboard. I’ve got a mystery involving my great-uncle Ned, who according to rumor, fathered a child by his neighbor’s wife.
It never occurred to me that he, the woman and her daughter should be exhumed and it never would.
There’s debate in Australia now about an “opt-out” clause for organ donation. What about allowing an opt-out for exhumation? Charles Kingston, Genevieve Grey and AA “Bert” Edwards had no say in this.
Kingston was South Australia’s longest serving Premier of the 19th century and became a Minister in the first Commonwealth Parliament.
He was tipped as a future Prime Minister but quit the national ministry in 1903 because of poor health.
He is regarded as a “father of federation” and travelled to London to seek endorsement for the new dominion from Great Britain.
Someone on ABC Radio today likened him to Abraham Lincoln. Would Americans allow him to be dug up as part of an alleged paternity claim?
Curiously and rather insultingly, the Adelaide Advertiser described Charles Kingston as a “lecher” because of his sexual adventures.
Technically correct, I suppose, but his wife was barren. They certainly wouldn’t use the term to describe a living politician with the same disposition.
I would describe him as colorful. He apparently beat up his wife’s brother when he refused to approve their marriage and challenged another MP to a duel.