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Kingscote is a town in the Australian state of South Australia located on Kangaroo Island about 119 kilometres (74 mi) south-west of the state capital of Adelaide. It is South Australia's oldest European settlement and the island's largest town. At the 2011 census, Kingscote had a population of 1,763. It is a well-established tourist centre and the administrative and communications centre. It is home to a colony of the smallest penguins in the world, the little penguin.
The South Australian Company established its colony at Kingscote at Reeves Point on 27 July 1836, as South Australia's first official European settlement, the first settlers having arrived on the Duke of York, and named for Henry Kingscote, one of the founding directors of the Company.
It was early suggested that Kingscote could serve as the capital of South Australia, but the island's resources were insufficient to support such a large community; the South Australian Company moved almost six months later to Adelaide after sending surveyors to find a better site.
There was a shore-based bay whaling station operating on the shore D'Estrees Bay by 1843.
The history of the area is displayed in the museum in Hope Cottage, to the north of the town. Hope Cottage was one of the three earliest houses built in Kingscote, circa 1850, with the adjoining cottages of Faith and Charity. (Faith has been subsequently demolished.)
The current town of Kingscote is now immediately to the south of the original Kingscote settlement at Reeves Point in the area originally known as Queenscliffe (the origin of the name of the Queenscliffe Hotel in Dauncey Street).
Kingscote has a school offering years reception to 12 (R-12), a hospital, supermarket, post office and government offices. It is the administrative centre for the Kangaroo Island Council, whose offices have recently undergone a significant upgrade.
Recreational facilities include a sports centre and adjoining oval and netball courts.
A wharf and jetty stand at the waterfront. They were previously used by the roll-on, roll-off vessels, Troubridge and Island Seaway and now serve smaller vessels.
The jetty is accessible for recreational fishing and scuba diving and pelican feeding and nocturnal penguin tours are offered at the Penguin Centre, which is adjacent to the jetty.
The Aurora Ozone Seafront Hotel, with its mermaid statue, is a well-known landmark on the Kingscote foreshore. The hotel opened in 1907.  It was destroyed by fire 27 Aug 1918,  but was rebuilt and opened for business again on 29 December 1920.
Shark proof tidal swimming pool
A shark-proof tidal swimming pool is open to the public. Fundraising commenced in 1947 and plans were drafted by the South Australian Harbours Board. The Harbours Board estimated the total construction cost for the pool to be £607 and Mr W. S. Myers, won the contract for its construction. A subscription list was started and maintained to update local residents on fundraising progress and matching funding was offered by the South Australian Tourist Bureau. Construction commenced in 1949. Work continued in 1950, following delays owing to labor shortages and inclement weather.
Little penguin colony
In 2007, the Kingscote colony of little penguins' population was 868 adults and fell to 706 in 2010. In 2011, it was believed to be either declining or stable. In 2012, the population fell to 300 adults according to DEW figures. In 2013, the Kingscote colony of little penguins had dropped to 20 birds, according to tour operator John Ayliffe. Official 2013 census figures were greater, estimating 154 breeding adults, down 48 per cent from the previous year and 82 per cent since the population peak in 2007.
Increasing populations of long-nosed fur seals are believed to be a factor in the decline. Other predators of penguins on Kangaroo Island include rats, dogs, cats, goannas, sea lions and sea eagles. Since the 1990s, penguin tour operators have improved the nesting habitat in the visitation area at Kingscote, through vegetation, habitat protection and constructing boardwalks for tourists. Disease and declining fish stocks have also been blamed for declines in Little penguin numbers.
Accounts of little penguins at Kingcote exist from the 1930s.
Historically, little penguins have also been observed in burrows on The Spit which lies across the mouth of Bay of Shoals. Observations of penguins at this location were published in 1888, 1911, 1915, 1934 and 1938. A child visiting in 1947 found at least six penguin burrows. The species did not appear in the list of birds observed at Busby Islet Conservation Park (part of The Spit) which was published in 1987.