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Walker, Alan Cameron (1864–1931)

Very great regret will be felt at the news of the sudden death on Saturday of Mr. Alan Cameron Walker, the well-known Hobart architect, of the firm of Walker and Johnson, and chairman of the committee of the recent Art, Historical, and Antique Exhibition, which was such an outstanding success. Mr. Walker was working in his garden at Fern Tree, and had a heart seizure, and expired.

Mr. Walker was the fourth son of the late Mr. Herbert Walker, of Hobart, and was born in 1865. He was educated at Hutchins School, and later was articled to Mr. Henry Hunter, architect, whose offices were next to the buildings now occupied by the Civic Club, in Macquarie Street. On completion of his articles he left for England, by way of Spain and the Continent, and studied under Professor Rodger Smith, of the London University College, gaining a scholarship and certificates of honour. He passed all his examinations, with credit, and gained the coveted degree of Associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Returning to Australia, he practised in Melbourne for some years, but for health reasons returned to Hobart, his offices being in the Treasury Chambers. Mr. Douglas Salier then joined him as business partner. In 1911 the offices were removed to Collins Street, and Mr. A. Johnson joined the firm as partner. Mr. Walker's skill as an architect is reflected in the number of buildings which he designed in Melbourne and in Hobart. Among the buildings in Hobart which he designed were the General Post Office, Customs House, Technical College, Public Library buildings, and alterations to the A.M.P. Society and Tasmanian Museum. The National Mutual Assurance Company offices were designed while he was in partnership with Mr. Salier, and several of the largest buildings in Launceston were erected from designs conceived by him. Among his last works was the recently erected cloisters at St. David's Cathedral. At the opening ceremony he presented to the Cathedral a beautiful chalice of his own design, and made in memory of his mother, which was received and blessed by the Bishop (Dr. R. Snowdon Hay).

Mr. Walker was a great lover of art. For 25 years he was president of the Tasmanian Arts and Crafts Society, and took a great interest in the society's annual display. He was a keen and clever craftsman in all metals, his work finding much favour among the critics on the mainland. Silver work was a special hobby with him, and his display at the recent Art, Historical and Antique Exhibition won very favourable comment. To a large degree the success of the exhibition was due to his zeal and work as chairman of committee. He was unsparing in his efforts, and for weeks ahead devoted hours of his time towards the success of the exhibition. He was a great lover of nature; and the pretty layout of his garden at Fern Free Cottage was the admiration of all who saw it. He was responsible for the layout of the garden at the Springs, which was made possible by the funds raised at the Antique Exhibition. He was the first president of the Architect's Registration Board, and a member of the Tasmanian chapter of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects. To students of architecture he was ever ready to give advice. On several occasions he visited England, the Continent, and America having been associated with the Royal Institute of British Architects' Sketch Club, and with Sir Banister Fletcher and others he took part in making records of many of the oldest and best-known English country homes.

Mr. Walker first married Mabel, daughter of Mr. Tertius Robertson, her death taking place in 1918. He had a family of two, Mr. Huon Walker, and Mrs C. N. Atkins, wife of Dr. Atkins of Hobart. In 1922 he married Miss Daisy May Hooker, of Adelaide, who survives him. The funeral will leave his late residence, Huonden, at 3.30 p.m to-day, arriving at Cornelian Bay cemetery at 4 o'clock.

An Appreciation
"G."writes:-And so, in the passing of Alan Walker, Hobart loses another good citizen, and one of those men we can ill afford to lose. Over 30 years ago he was instrumental in putting at the Technical School training on the right lines within everyone's reach. Later he was the father of the arts and craft movement in Southern Tasmania, an inspiration to, all people with artistic sense, and a leader as well. His work in enamel, later his finished work in silver, has been a great source of pleasure to all who had the privilege of seeing his productions. Almost his last achievement was the Antique Exhibition in aid of unemployment. How well that work was carried out, and what enthusiasm Alan Walker drew out of the willing band of his committee. Without his leadership, his knowledge, and his power of drawing out the best of work from a wide circle of people the exhibition could not have been the success it was. He did not spare himself and worked, perhaps, harder than he should. Later he conceived the idea of laying out a bush garden near the Springs, and so relieving unemployment. He had devoted two days in each week for the last month to this, and has laid the foundation, or, rather, laid the plan for what in years to come will be his lasting memorial: In his country home near the Fern Tree he had collected large number of native plants, which he delighted in tending. And so, in the garden he loved, he found sleep.

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'Walker, Alan Cameron (1864–1931)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/walker-alan-cameron-1099/text1094, accessed 17 November 2018.

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