Gladstone’s Secret Baronet

Known simply as Stephen, Sir James Stephen Goold arrived in South Australia in 1863 as a midshipman. Stephen’s ancestor had been the Mayor of Cork, Ireland, during the reign of King Henry VII. For their continued service to the monarchy, Stephen’s family had been awarded a baronetcy on 8 August 1801. And, as the eldest son of his father, Stephen had inherited the title!

However, Stephen had little time for his regal background. When his secret was discovered in 1907, Stephen told local reporters that he had a ‘distaste’ for his title and felt that ‘anyone assuming of such distinction ought to have the means to back it up’. In other words, Stephen felt that a true baronet would not be working as a railway ganger in Gladstone, SA!

When Stephen passed away in 1926, his son George Patrick Goold inherited the title. Soon after, George developed a reputation for punching all those who dared to refer to him as “Sir”!


‘Gladstone’s Baronet: Death of Sir Stephen Goold,’ Observer (Adelaide), 14 August 1926, p.11, accessed 22 July 2021.>.

‘Towns, People, And Things We Ought To Know,’ The Adelaide Chronicle, 27 October 1932, p.42-43, accessed 22 July 2021.>.