Overview

Thomas Walker

(1858—1932)


'Thomas Walker' can also refer to...

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(1858–1932), born Lancashire, England, had a colourful and wandering career in Canada, the USA, England, NZ, NSW and South Africa before finally settling in WA. In 1874 he migrated to Canada, where he set up as a spiritual medium; he was implicated in a felonious killing but escaped indictment and left for England where he worked for the Preston Herald. He then worked as a spiritualist and journalist in the USA before coming to Sydney in 1877 under the sponsorship of Australian spiritualists. After a chequered career in NSW and some further wanderings overseas, during which he published a book of verse in South Africa, he abandoned spiritualism and established himself in Sydney as a secularist spokesman and populist campaigner. His second volume of verse, Bush Pilgrims, was published in 1885 and in the same year he enjoyed the success of his dramatisation of His Natural Life (1874) and the production of his own play, in which he acted, ‘Marmondelle the Moor’. In 1887 Walker was elected to the Legislative Assembly, where he had a vociferous career, which suffered a reversal in mid-1892 when he inadvertently shot and wounded a clergyman. Convicted of being drunk and disorderly, he immediately set up as a temperance lecturer and in 1899 arrived in WA in that role. He wrote for and edited the West Australian Sunday Times, worked for the Kalgoorlie Sun and the Kalgoorlie Miner and in 1905 was elected to the Legislative Assembly, where he remained until 1932, successfully combining politics, farming and law. He was attorney-general 1911–16 and speaker 1924–30. Apart from some polemical works, Walker published Felonry of New South Wales, by an Old Identity (1891).

From The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literature.



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