James Roy Kinghorn

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James Roy Kinghorn (12 October 1891 – 4 March 1983), generally known as Roy, or J. R. Kinghorn, was an Australian naturalist, a longtime curator at the Australian Museum, and a noted lecturer and broadcaster.

Early years[edit]

Roy Kinghorn was born in Richmond, New South Wales, the youngest of three children of Rev. James Kinghorn (1861–1912)[1] and his wife (Bertha) Ethel, née Campbell (ca.1866–1942). He was educated at Ellengowan School, Bathurst, All Saints' College, Bathurst and the Sydney Church of England Grammar School.[2]

In 1907 he was accepted as a cadet at the Australian Museum, Sydney, specialising in crustaceans. He attended lectures at Sydney University and studied part-time at Sydney Technical College, but after failing an examination at the College, was transferred to a clerical position at the Museum.[2]

Wartime and later career[edit]

Kinghorn enlisted with the AIF in June 1915 and served during World War I in Egypt and Lemnos with the Dental Corps and with the Field Artillery Brigade, mostly as a driver, but after receiving a severe knee injury in December 1917 was repatriated to Australia, and was discharged as permanently medically unfit in July 1918. He was to serve as recruiting officer for the 2nd AIF during the Second World War.[2]

He returned to the Australian Museum in 1918 and was appointed zoologist in charge of reptiles and amphibians; three years later birds were added to his portfolio.[2]

He was appointed Assistant Director of the Australian Museum around 1951 and retired in 1956.

Lecturer and broadcaster[edit]

Kinghorn was a popular and prolific lecturer on zoological subjects, beginning around 1924.[3]

His interest in broadcasting began around the same time, with talks and stories on the Children's Hour on Farmer's Radio Service (later 2FC).[4] Among his last media appearances was (as "Linnaeus" the naturalist) in a weekly spot during the last decade of ABC radio's Argonauts' Club.

He was a regular on Captain Fortune Show, a pioneering TV series of the 1950s[5] and the "Spying on Nature" segment of "Wednesday Wonderbox" children's show on ABC-TV (which also featured Mr. Squiggle) in the 1960s.[6]

Family life[edit]

Kinghorn married Winifred Mance (died 1977) on 12 November 1921. They had no children.[2]


  • Large Non-venomous Snakes of Australia Australian Museum Magazine vol.1 issue 2 September 1921.[7]
  • Kinghorn, J.R. 1923. A New Genus of Elapine Snake from Northern Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 14 (1): 42–45 + Plate VII.
    ("Oxyuranus, gen. nov.", p. 42.)
  • Snakes of Australia 1929, New, large format, edition ed. Harold Cogger (1935– ) 1964
  • Dangerous Snakes of the South-West Pacific Area with Charles Kellaway (1943). This pocket guide was published for American troops serving in the region.
  • Kinghorn, J. Roy 1929 Herpetological notes No. I Records of the Australian Museum 17 (2): 76–84
  • Kinghorn, JR 1929 Rec. Austral. Mus., Sydney, 17: 77
  • Kinghorn, J. Reptiles and Roy 1924 batrachian from south and south-west Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 14 (3): 163–183



A subspecies of snake, Liasis amethistinus kinghorni, was named for him, as well as a species of lizard, Proablepharus kinghorni.[9]

See also[edit]

French Wikipedia entry


  1. ^ "Rev. James Kinghorn". Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 – 1954). NSW: National Library of Australia. 7 September 1912. p. 11. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Rose Docker, 'Kinghorn, James Roy (1891–1983)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published in hardcopy 2007, accessed online 7 February 2014
  3. ^ "Lecture on Snakes". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 19 April 1924. p. 14. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Broadcasting". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 12 September 1924. p. 5. Retrieved 7 February 2014.  A fore-runner of the ABC Children's Hour – 2FC became part of the ABC in 1932.
  5. ^ "Television Parade". The Australian Women's Weekly. National Library of Australia. 24 April 1957. p. 8. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "ABC-3 Opening Programmes". The Canberra Times. National Library of Australia. 11 December 1962. p. 21. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "Australian Museum Magazine". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 10 September 1921. p. 8. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "Museum Officer". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 4 April 1935. p. 15. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Kinghorn", p. 141).

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