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Hawker, Edward William (1850–1940)

One of South Australia's greatest pioneers, Mr. Edward William Hawker, who died last week at 90, was buried on Sunday at the Bungaree church.

Returned soldiers formed a guard of honor.

No Parliamentarian of this State took a keener interest in Australia's welfare, from the point of view of judicious legislation, than he did.

The sudden death of his nephew and protege — the late Charles Hawker, M.H.R. for Wakefield— killed in the Kyeema air disaster two years ago, was a great shock to him.

Mr. Hawker was the doyen of politicians in the last two decades in the political life of South Australia. As a staunch party man who loyally devoted the later years of his life to the cause of the Liberal and Country League, he was a vivid personality that invested any meeting with a tinge of glamour.

Of fixed and unswerving purpose he overcame in the last 20 years several physical handicaps, with all the old fire, zeal, and keenness that earned for him the admiration of all with whom he came in contact.

When he could no longer write a letter right-handed, he taught himself to write with the left. When that, too, failed him, he laboriously took to the typewriter. Increasing age and deafness became no bar to his energy and the resilience of a well-stored mind.

Using an ear trumpet, he took a keen part in political discussions.

Even as late as two years ago, when Sir Richard Butler spoke at Clare for the Wakefield by-election, the old man, seated right in the front row, corrected Sir Richard in regard to the quotation of figures respecting certain activities of the Labor Party in Queensland.

'Mr. Hawker is quite right,' said Sir Richard Butler, amid 'Hear! hears!' from an indulgent audience.

His father, the late George Charles Hawker, M.A. (Cambridge), was the second son of Rear-Admiral Edward Hawker, R.N., and was born at London on September 2, 1819, and died at Adelaide on May 21, 1895. He arrived in South Australia in the Lysander in 1840 and settled at Bungaree. On December 16, 1845, he married Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Henry Conway Seymour, of Killanola, Naracoorte.

Her marriage to the late G. C. Hawker took place at Trinity Church, Adelaide. In 1893 she was granted the title of Knight's Lady in recognition of the political services of her husband, who spent 27 years in Parliament and was twice Speaker of the House of Assembly. The father and the son (Edward) held the unique distinction of being in Parliament together.

The late G. C. Hawker built the Anglican Church of St. Michael's, Bungaree, in 1864, but the property was first settled by himself and his two brothers, Charles Lloyd Hawker and James Collin Hawker, in 1841.

It is interesting to note here that Edward, the first child, was born in the first hut on the site of the present homestead in 1850.

In the South Australian Road Guide and Gazeteer of 1867 there is the following respecting Bungaree and Anama: —

'The combined areas of Anama (then the head station) and Bungaree had an area of 236 square miles. Original lease numbers were 131 and 139 and the occupier was cited as George Charles Hawker. There were then grazing 87,000 sheep, 300 cattle, and 150 horses. The old rental assessment was £488/3/9, and the Goyder valuation £3,472, without improvements £2,025.'

Within the Bungaree Church the reflected rays of daylight shine through lovely stained glass windows upon brass memorial tablets which set out the names of members of the family.

Some of these are to the memory of John Frederic Hawker (fourth son), who died when aged 15 in 1873; Trevor Wynn Eyre Hawker (eighth son), George C. Hawker, jun. (second son), Lieut. Henry Colley Hawker (third son), who fought in the Boer war of 1900 and died at the age of 60, also a daughter, Isabella Hawker, and finally probably the most noted member — to the memory of Major Lance Hawker, R.E., R.F.C., V.C., D.S.O., the second son of Lieut. Henry Colley Hawker, R.N., who was born at Longparish England, December 21, 1890, and fought in the great war 1914-16. and fell fighting on November 23, 1916.

Original publication

Citation details

'Hawker, Edward William (1850–1940)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/hawker-edward-william-6604/text27282, accessed 20 August 2017.

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