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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

The Hon. William Campbell Walker

The Hon. William Campbell Walker, M.A., M.L.C., Minister of Education and Immigration, is the eldest son of the late Sir William Stuart Walker, K.C.B., for many years chairman of the Board of Supervision, Edinburgh. Born in 1837, at Bowlandstow, Midlothian, Scotland, Mr. Walker was educated at Trinity College, Glenalmond, Perthshire, and at Trinity College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1861, subsequently page 1494 taking his M.A. degree. Landing in Lyttelton in January, 1862, per ship “Evening Star,” Mr. Walker has been intimately associated with the settlement and development of the Provincial District of Canterbury. With his brother, Mr. A. J. Walker, he was for many years concerned in sheep-farming pursuits. Their station in the Ashburton District is known as “Mount Possession.” The honourable gentleman's connection with public life dates back to the year 1877, when he was elected as the first chairman of the Ashburton County Council, which position he held continuously till the year 1893. Mr. Walker sat in two Parliaments as member for Ashburton, having been elected for that constituency in 1884. Three years later he was re-elected, but was defeated at the General Election of 1890. He was called to the Legislative Council in 1892, and became a member of the Seddon Government in February, 1896, soon after the retirement of the Hon. W. P. Reeves to accept office as Agent-General for the Colony in London. In 1896 Mr. Walker was instrumental in passing an Act for the reconstitution of Canterbury College, which provided for the separation of the Agricultural College from the college proper. For a considerable, period he has occupied a seat as a member of the Board of Governors of Canterbury College, and from 1891, until joining the Ministry as Leader of the Upper House, he was a member of the Land Board of Canterbury. The Hon. W. C. Walker was married in 1871 to a daughter of the late Archdeacon Wilson, of Christchurch, and has five sons and one daughter.