Thomas King was born in Glasgow in 1858, and was brought to Auckland in infancy by his parents. He was educated at the Auckland College and Grammar School, and afterwards by private tutors in Wellington. He joined the staff of Messrs. W. and G. Turnbull and Co., and afterwards entered the service of Messrs. Levin and Co.
Mr. King was on the staff of the Colonial Observatory as transit observer under the directorship of the late Sir James Hector, and from 1887 to 1911 he was responsible for the time service. At the latter date he resigned from the Observatory.
In December, 1903, and. January, 1904, as part of the programme carried out by the Dominion Observatory, Ottawa, Canada, under the charge of Dr. Otto Klotz, to determine trans-Pacific longitudes, Mr. King observed at Wellington, in conjunction with Dr. Klotz at Doubtless Bay, to ascertain the difference of longitude between these two places.
Mr. King took great interest in the Wellington Philosophical Society, of which he was President at the time of his death. He was elected as a member of the Council of the Society for 1881–85; Auditor, 1891–1904; Secretary and Treasurer, 1904–9; Vice-President, 1910–14; and President, 1914–16. In 1910 he was elected an honorary life member in recognition of his services to the society.
Mr. King was the author of a valuable paper, “On New Zealand Mean Time, and on the Longitude of the Colonial Observatory, Wellington; with a Note on the Universal Time Question” (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. 35, 1903, pp. 428–51). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1910, and was also a member of the Société Astronomique de France.
He died on Thursday, the 16th March, 1916, at Wellington.
C. E. A.