Stanley George Kings AM

27 October 1923 – 12 August 2011


  • Reg Hession AM

During 1945, when World War II was beginning to move towards a successful conclusion for the Allies, two very unique young men were to graduate in dentistry from the University of Melbourne. They joined others from their final year in entering the Australian armed forces for the duration of the war and beyond. At that time the system which prevailed was based upon the premise that ‘the first one in was to be the first one out ’ and being late in entering the Service, the Kings twins found themselves serving some three years in the RAAF as young Flight Lieutenants. Following demobilization, they set up practice together. Excepting for the two successive years which they spent separately in Toronto (Canada) to obtain their DDS degrees, they were inseparable as brothers, friends and colleagues.

It is indeed extremely difficult to write about Stan, without also referring to Eric. They were not only identical in almost every respect, but their achievements within the profession followed the same paths in their early years, only separating slightly in their middle to later years of activity. It has been oft remarked that throughout their respective careers Stan and Eric shared most of the senior positions in dentistry which were available to them in Australia.

Stan undertook his secondary education at Melbourne High School, being outstanding in sport (First XI and First XVIII), and he was the School Captain, with Eric being the Vice-Captain of the same year. Following secondary school, the two boys attended the University of Melbourne, each graduating in 1945 (BDSc) and entering the RAAF. Following their discharge and undertaking a period in dental practice with Eric, Stan was accepted to attend the University of Toronto, where he attained the DDS in 1962, being Dux of the class. Not to be outdone by Stan, in the following year Eric followed him to Toronto, achieving the same result, DDS and Dux.

Having each attained additional qualifications, the brothers decided to commence practice in Collins Street, Melbourne, where they continued their partnership until retiring in the mid 1980s. Throughout their dental careers they followed the same professional pathways with great success. However, in the administrative roles which they undertook, due to the timing of opportunities as they became available to each, it was inevitable that their paths would diverge.

Stan’s introduction to the Australian Dental Association (ADA) at the highest levels commenced in 1962, when he was elected to the Council of the Australian Dental Association (Victorian Branch). From 1962 to 1966 he served in various roles within the Branch, becoming President in 1967–1968. It was in 1968 that he was elected to the Federal Council where he served as a Councillor, until being elected to the Executive Committee in 1974. He continued his career in subsequent years, occupying the positions of Honorary Treasurer (1978–1980), Vice-President (1980–1982) and President (1982–1984).

Throughout his ADA career, he served dentistry in Australia in a number of other ways. In 1978 he was the Vice-President of the Jubilee Dental Congress which was held in Melbourne. Between 1976 and 1982 he attended FDI Annual World Dental Congresses as a member of the Australian Delegation and in 1983–1984, as ADA President, he led the Delegation to Meetings of the FDI as well as the Asian-Pacific Dental Federation. In 1985–1988 he was the Chairman of the Editorial Board of the Australian Dental Journal, during which period the Journal attained the status of a ‘refereed publication of international repute’. In 1984, he presided over the introduction of the Northern Territory Branch of the Australian Dental Association, whereupon it was given representation on the Council of the Association.

In 1985, for his contributions to the dental profession, he was accorded the highest Award to be offered by the ADA, that being Honorary Life Membership. Subsequently, this was followed by him being honoured with a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Stan had many other interests within the profession, one of great merit being the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons. In 1965 he was invited by its founders to become an Inaugural Fellow of the College. He was elected to the Council in 1974, serving the College in a number of senior positions, leading to that of President for the years 1985–1986. In 1989, due to his contribution to the governance of the College at the highest levels, he was rewarded with the highest recognition of the College – Honorary Life Fellowship.

There are many more achievements which relate to Stan, such as memberships of a number of service organizations in dentistry and in public life, as well as his service on a number of government and non-government committees and boards. Of note was his special honorary service relative to a visit to Australia by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and on another occasion, the Meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM), whereupon he was placed ‘on call’ in the event of need. As was mentioned at his Memorial Service, he was called upon to do his best relative to the Royal Visit, but alas, only for one of the entourage and not the principal.

However, it is the personal memories of Stan which are most cherished by his friends. As was said in one of the eulogies delivered at his Memorial Service, when memories of him are called to mind, single ‘key words’ of description seem to tumble into place such as: family, sport, loyalty, love, professionalism, sincerity, integrity, gentility, humour, leadership. No matter the order, it is the meaning of these words which provide the essence.

One can hardly imagine a more successful life and career than that experienced by Stan. His achievements were great and of more importance, they were never developed at the expense of others. He married well (Heather) and they produced three fine and successful children (David, Kate and Libby) who have in turn continued the line so well ordained by their parents. Stan was both highly regarded and loved by his friends, particularly for his great sense of humour and balanced mind. His Memorial Service on 19 August 2011 overflowed beyond the confines of Christ Church, Hawthorn, with those who were proud to be close to him throughout life. Nobody appeared to be sad. On the contrary, there prevailed much joy for the peaceful passing of a man who not only led a good, fruitful and long life, but who left us all a legacy of countless fond memories.