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Family notes - Alexander Walker

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This page has biographical information about Alexander Walker (1838-1909), his wife Isabella Brough (1837-1914) and their children.

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Alexander WALKER and family

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Alexander WALKER (1838-1909)

Alexander Walker was born on the 10 September 1838 in Tibbermore, Perthshire, Scotland, the eldest child of Alexander Walker, a labourer, and Charlotte Leslie. Alexander trained as a flour miller. In September 1858 Alexander married Isabella Brough, the youngest daughter of William Brough, who was also Alexander's employer. Apparently Isabella's parents did not really approve of the marriage and the couple migrated to Australia. Their first child, Christina, was born in October 1858 on the voyage to Australia, and died in January 1859 while they were still at sea.

Alexander and Isabella lived in Melbourne, Victoria, from 1859 to 1861, with daughter Charlotte being born in 1860. In 1861 the family moved to Milton in Otago where Alexander was employed in the town's flour mill. A further six children were born in Milton. Alexander died in 1908 and was buried in the Fairfax Cemetery at Milton.

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Isabella BROUGH (1837-1914)

Isabella Brough was born in 1837 in Comrie, Perthshire, Scotland, the youngest daughter of William Brough and Christian Drummond. William was a farmer and miller in Comrie. As mentioned above, Isabella married Alexander Walker (1858), then migrated to Melbourne, Australia (1858) and subsequently to Milton, New Zealand (1861). She had eight children. Isabella died in 1914 aged 75 and was buried in the Fairfax Cemetery at Milton.

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Children of Alexander and Isabella

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Charlotte WALKER (1860-1921)

Charlotte Walker was born in Essendon, Victoria, Australia (now a suburb of Melbourne) in 1860. She migrated to New Zealand with her parents in 1861 and grew up in Milton, Otago. Charlotte married George Redpath in 1886. George and Charlotte farmed at Tuapeka West until 1893 when the family moved to Gisborne in the North Island.

The family initially lived at Matawhero near Gisborne. George worked on his farm at Rakauroa and had to build a house before the family could move there. In 1897 the house was completed and the family moved to Rakauroa (near the present township of Matawai). George and Charlotte's last daughter, Charlotte, was born in 1902. Charlotte Redpath (nee Walker) lived at Rakauroa until 1921, when she moved to Gisborne but died soon after on 11 August 1921 aged 61. She was buried at Rakauroa Cemetery with George.

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John WALKER (1863-1927)

John Walker, the only son of Alexander Walker and Isabella Brough, was born in Milton in 1863. In 1890 he married Mary Muir Reid in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, Australia. John gave his occupation as a merchant when he married. The 1890 electoral roll listed him as a storekeeper in Milton. John and Mary had their only child, James Keith Walker, in 1892 while living in Milton.

The family later moved to Taranaki in the North Island, where according to electoral rolls, John worked as a clerk in Stratford (1893-1900) and a sawmill manager at Te Kiri (1905). From 1911 John and Mary lived at Mangare Bridge near Auckland, where they farmed a property called "Favona" (now a suburb between Mangere Bridge and Onehunga). They had retired to Onehunga by 1922.

John died in Auckland Hospital in November 1927 and Mary died in 1946. John and Mary were buried in Auckland.

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Katrine WALKER (1862-1941)

Katrine Walker, also known as Catherine, Kitty and more commonly as Kate, was born in 1862. She attended Tokomairiro School in Milton and won a secondary scholarship in 1881 so she could attend Girls' High School in Dunedin. While at secondary school she met her future husband, James Reeve Wilkinson, who had recently graduated from Canterbury University and who coached girls for University Junior Scholarship. The couple became lovers. James Wilkinson did not get his teaching certificate promotion and took on an assistantship to Professor Shand at Otago University. Two “breakdowns” followed so he went to Higham, Canterbury, where his brother was farming. In 1889 Katrine obtained a teaching position nearby in Canterbury, so she was close enough to ride regularly by pony to see him at the weekends.

James moved to live with another brother in Christchurch, and Katrine obtained a teaching position at Riccarton. Under the pseudonym “Theta”, she regularly wrote the ladies page in the ‘New Zealand Wheelman’, and on 14 October 1893 she commented in relation to both cycling and women’s franchise “ the dainty wheel gives her a larger world to live in, so the wheel of progress has now given her a larger world to think in”. The couple became involved in dress reform, and jointly wrote a pamphlet called ‘Notes on Dress Reform and what it Implies’. In it they used aesthetic, moral and feminist argument to recommend change in women’s undergarments and outer clothing.

In 1894 Alice Burn, who was to become the President of the New Zealand Rational Dress Association, advised that James and Katrine should marry. The couple married in Christchurch and a photograph of the wedding published in the ‘New Zealand Graphic’ apparently shocked its readers because of the very prominent knickerbockers, a public statement by the wedding party of their strongly held principles of the necessity of rational dress for women. The wedding attracted national attention as the Dress Reform Wedding.

In 1911 James was appointed Clerk to the Ashley Country Council, based at Lowburn in Canterbury. There he and Katrine remained until his retirement twenty-five years later. Katrine died in 1941 and James in 1951.

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Isabella WALKER (1868-1938)

Isabella Walker, also known as Bella, was born in Milton in 1868. She attended school in Milton, and in 1896 married William George Griffin, known as George.

George was born in Macraes Flat, Otago, and he farmed there in 1902. The couple had five children, including two sets of twins. Based on their school attendance, the family lived in a number of locations in Otago and Canterbury. George and Isabella eventually settled in Dunedin, Otago. George died in 1935 and Isabella in 1938. Both are buried in Dunedin.

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Nellie WALKER (1870-19?)

Nellie or Ellen Walker was born in 1870 in Milton. In 1895 she married John Stanley in Sydney. John was a surveyor. They had one daughter.

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Christina WALKER (1872-1892)

Christina Walker was born in 1872 in Milton, the daughter of Alexander Walker and Isabella Brough. She attended Tokomairiro School in southeast Milton. Christina died in Milton in 1892 aged 20 years and was buried in the Fairfax Cemetery, Milton.

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Jessie Ann WALKER (1876-1952)

Jessie Ann Walker was born in 1876 in Milton, the youngest daughter of Alexander Walker and Isabella Brough. In 1920 she married Reginald Richardson Hooper. Electoral rolls show that Reginald was a tram conductor in Gisborne in 1900. He worked on farms in the district from 1905 until 1928, and then worked as a labouer in Gisborne until he retired about 1954. Jessie died in 1952 and Reginald in 1967. Both were buried in Gisborne.

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