John George Knight Print Page Print this page

The Plaque at the gravesite commemorates John George Knight (1826-1892).

In the early 1870s Knight was attracted to the Northern Territory by reports of gold. In 1873 the South Australian government appointed him secretary and accountant to the resident, G. B. Scott, with extra duties as architect and supervisor of works. He sailed from Melbourne on 2 September, but the appointment of a Victorian annoyed Adelaide politicians. In November 1875 Knight was retrenched as supervisor of works and his salary as secretary and accountant was severely cut.

He resigned and left for Melbourne in December, but in January 1876 accepted the post of goldfields warden. He returned to Port Darwin and on the goldfields promptly built a hospital, where he often tended sick miners himself. In April 1880 he became Clerk of the Local Court, Palmerston, and was soon made Deputy Sheriff, Clerk of the Licensing Bench, Curator of the property of convicts, Registrar, Accountant and Official Receiver and Returning Officer.

In 1887 he was granted leave to act as Commissioner for the Territory at the Exhibition and in 1888 was Commissioner at the Melbourne International Exhibition. He intended to resign in 1889 but was asked to act as Government Resident and judge. Next year he became Government Resident.


Address:Wilkinson Street, Pioneer Cemetery, Parap, 0820
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -12.436944
Long: 130.840556
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Colonial
Link: http://adb.anu.edu.au/


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Friday 24th January, 2003
Front Inscription


John George Knight was one of the best known inhabitants of the Northern Territory during the last three decades of the twentieth century. At the time of his death in Palmerston (now Darwin) on the 10th January 1892, he was the most senior official in the Territory, the Government Resident Knight arrived in the Territory in 1873 and during his distinguished career he occupied a great variety of other posts. Secretary and Accountant to the Government Resident, Architect, Supervisor of Works, Goldfields Warden, Clerk of the Court, Deputy Sheriff. Special Magistrate, Crown Prosecutor, Official Receiver, Public Trustee and Assistant Returning Officer.

As an architect he was responsible for the design of Palmerston`s most substantial buildings including extensions to Government House, part of the Police Station and Courthouse, sections of Fannie Bay Gaol, Brown`s Mart and the Town Hall. The Northern Territory Times reported that "we cannot recall anything that created so universal a feeling of sadness as the decease of this honoured and honourable servant of the Crown and friend of the people whose death marks a blotting out of a noble life and perhaps the grandest `landmark` the Territory could point to.

The next day flags in Palmerston were everywhere at half-mast and public offices and business were closed as Knight`s funeral cortege move through the town. European, Chinese and Malays were all mingled together in vehicles, on horseback or walking and even the Aboriginals, realising no doubt, the full extent of the many kindnesses shown to them by the deceased took this opportunity of testifying their gratitude".

 Unveiled by His Honour
Mr John Anictomatis AO
Administrator of the Northern Territory
24th January 2003

Erected by the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment.

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