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Walker, Duncan Stewart (1827–1889)

We deeply regret to have to record the death of Mr. Duncan Stewart Walker, which occurred suddenly at his residence, Dimora, Camperdown, shortly after 9 o'clock on Sunday night, at the age of 61 years. The deceased gentleman seemed to be in perfectly good health during the day, and attended divine service at the Presbyterian Church, both Sunday morning and evening. After evening service he chatted for a few minutes in the vestry with the Rev. W. Thomson, and then hurried home to escape a shower which seemed to be coming up from the west. On reaching his house he sat down on a chair in the sitting room, and convened cheerfully for some time with his sister in-law, Miss Lowe, and his eldest unmarried daughter. Mrs. Walker was absent at the time at Black Glen, a property south of Cobden, not long ago acquired by Mr. Walker. Shortly after 9 o'clock the family were on the point of retiring for the night, when Mr. Walker raised his hand suddenly to his head and exclaiming, "Oh, Maggie," (the name of the daughter referred to) fell forward to the floor. Miss Walker at once raised her father's head, and used every means possible to endeavour to restore consciousness. A message was at once sent to the nearest neighbour, Mr. W. Henderson (Stevenson & Henderson), and messenger was also dispatched for medical aid. On the arrival of Dr. Pettigrew that gentleman pronounced life to be extinct. The cause of death was apoplexy. Some time ago Mr. Walker was very seriously ill, and his life was almost despaired of. He experienced a wonderful recovery, however, and since then he appears to have enjoyed splendid health. The news of his sudden demise was therefore a sad shock to his relatives. Mrs. Walker and the youngest son, Robert, who were at Black Glen spending a week or two, were immediately summoned home, and returned yesterday morning. Mr. Wm. Walker and a younger sister only left last week for Grassdale station near Casterton, owned by Mr. Smith, a son-in-law of deceased, the former having to superintend the shearing now about to commence. The intelligence also came us a painful surprise to the residents of Camperdown. During the day the shops were half closed, and there were other indications of the sorrow that was generally felt at the removal by death of one who was esteemed and respected by all who knew him. The deceased leaves a widow and family of eight, most of whom are grown up, to mourn their great loss. The funeral will take place to-morrow, and will leave his late residence at 2 p.m. for the Camperdown cemetery.

Mr. Duncan Stewart Walker, J.P., was a native of Cantyre, Argyleshire, Scotland. He was the son of a farmer and was born in 1827. His father died when he was young, and with his mother and the rest of the family he came out to Port Phillip a few years after, being then in his thirteenth year, and landed at Geelong (then called Corio) in 1841. His first employment was on the station of Dr. Alexander Thomson, at one time mayor of Geelong, and then a squatter. He remained with Dr. Thomson until 1851, when he became partner in a tanning and carrier's business on the banks of the Barwon river. The partners were doing well when one of the heaviest floods ever known in the district came down and swept the entire concern away, leaving, as a matter of fact, only the tanpits, the dwelling house which stood on high ground, and a favourite horse. Subsequent to this Mr. Walker removed to (?), and after a short residence at that place became the proprietor of the Leura hotel, Camperdown, which he operated successfully for some years, and which he established as one of the most popular (?) in the Western district. He next, in conjunction with the late Mr. John Paton, purchased the well-known "Dixie" estate, near Terang, of which he afterwards became sole proprietor. During his residence at Dixie, at the request of the ratepayers of the West riding, he offered himself as a candidate for its representation in the Hampdenshire council. He was elected in 1870, and retained the position until 1888, when he was defeated by Mr. A. J. Black, of Noorat. The defeat, however, was ascribed solely to the fact that a few months previously Mr. Walker, who had parted with "Dixie" to a syndicate, took up his residence in Camperdown, which is situated in the East riding, and the ratepayers of Terang and district united for the purpose of returning one whom they regarded as a local man. In August last Mr. Walker opposed Mr. McWilliam for the West riding, and was again defeated, but by a very narrow majority. The election, however, was not conducted on personal grounds, but purely on the principle of "local representation," as the deceased gentleman has always retained the respect and esteem of his former constituents. In 1886, whilst a member of the council, he was elected president of that body, and was placed in office a second year. On his retirement from the council table his former colleagues were unanimous in expressing regret at the loss they sustained, and they showed their high appreciation of his valuable services by presenting him with a handsomely illuminated address. During his presidency Mr. Walker had an honorary magistrate's commission, and the attention he paid to his duties in that capacity was worthy of emulation. General regret was expressed at the fact that he was not able to retain the office when he vacated the president's chair. During the last few weeks he was gazetted a justice of the peace with many others, but had not yet been sworn in. His known capacity for business, was displayed to its best advantage, perhaps, during his connection with the Cobden Cheese, and Butter Factory. He was the first chairman of directors, and it is now felt that his advice has been largely instrumental in steering the company through troublous waters into the comparative security of the present. Mr. Walker was for many years an elder of the Terang Presbyterian Church under the Rev. S. Fraser, and on his removal to Camperdown he became an elder of the local charge. He was most active and energetic in the discharge of his public and private duties, and whilst not neglecting the latter he devoted much of his time to public concerns. He was married at Geelong in 1853 to Miss Lowe, a sister of his then partner in the tannery at Geelong, by the Rev Andrew Love, the first minister in that part of the colony.

Original publication

Citation details

'Walker, Duncan Stewart (1827–1889)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/walker-duncan-stewart-14252/text25299, accessed 25 March 2017.

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