Dame Eadith Walker: An Appreciation


The passing of Dame Eadith Walker has left a great blank in the life of the community.

From the earliest days of the colony her father was connected with its history and progress, and as he was a benefactor in his day, so she was a benefactress and supporter of every movement which made for the wise development of the city and State.

With a mind trained to look upon life with a wide vision, her interests were varied and large. She was ready to assist the affairs of State and education, as she was ready to give suitable help to individual cases. Endowed with wealth which called for careful administration, she had a business mind unique in a woman.

It would be difficult to enumerate the many gifts Dame Eadith bestowed in different spheres of life. She was a generous contributor to the Women’s College, St. Bernard’s Hostel for Gentlewomen, Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children (of which she was once a committee member), and the Queen’s Fund.

She was specially interested in the R.S.P.C.A., and her great love of animals was an outstanding feature of her character. She was responsible for the education of many young people, who, by her generosity, were enabled to enter some profession. She granted annuities to many, who otherwise would have faced poverty in their old age.

A leader in social life, her home was thrown open for many entertainments and distinguished oversea visitors enjoyed her hospitality.

Had there been a public funeral service, hundreds would have been present to pay their last tribute to her—not only the men of the A.I.F., to whom Dame Eadith was a wonderful friend, but others, whose hearts were filled with gratitude for deeds of kindness and generosity known only to themselves. However, the quiet service held at Yaralla on Saturday afternoon was more in keeping with her mind and wishes, for she disliked publicity of any sort. Here, in the hall, were her personal friends, her household staff, and employees of the estate. Here a tribute was paid to her wonderful life and influence by the rector of the little Church of Holy Trinity (the gift of Dame Eadith to her parish).

In her home, Dame Eadith was perhaps in her best setting, surrounded by treasures collected during her travels, her much-valued books, and her beautiful garden. Her chief hobby was reading; her chief interests her garden and dogs. Her terrier, “Cobber,” was her faithful companion to the last.

Headstones at St. John’s Anglican Church, Ashfield.

She was a loyal subject of the Empire, by which she had been honoured, and a great citizen.

The Sydney Morning Herald:  Fri 15 Oct 1937 
Ed:  It is fitting that on this, the 80th anniversary of her death, we publish this tribute (by a friend) to a gracious and unassuming lady.  Her body was taken to Rookwood for cremation and her ashes were then buried with other members of her family in the cemetery at St. John's Church, Ashfield.

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