Mother & Son - Mary and Gordon Walker
When we stayed over at our grandparents house, my sister and I would wake early in the morning but stay still and quiet. We would wait until we heard the outside toilet flush, which was the sign that Granddad had gone to work. We would then quickly run and hop in Nanna & Granddad's bed. Nanna would make us a drink of Milo and have colouring books for us to play with. She always spoiled us and made everything fun.
Gordon Stanley Allen Walker was born at Havelock, a small mining community near Maryborough, in 1904.
Brothers - Gordon & Frank Walker
Although my grandfather would have liked an education, his family did not have the money to put two children through education and this honour was reserved for Gordon's younger brother, Frank, who showed greater scholastic potential.
Gordon followed in his father's footsteps and commenced work at the mines in Maryborough, until he could obtain an apprenticeship as a wheel wright. It was while completing his apprenticeship that he met my grandmother, Rita Jones and they married in 1925.
Very soon after, they moved to Yallourn in Gippsland, where Gordon worked initially as a wheel wright and then as a carpenter for the SEC (State Electricity Commission).
Rita & Gordon Walker
The Country Leader newspaper reports;
"They were both over 40, with growing families and secure jobs, but they thought it over and decided the risks were worth it.
They bought the site in Moore Street, cleaned it up and set to work to build a factory. This took nearly every weekend for two years, while they continued in their jobs at Yallourn.
They bought plant piecemetal, a machine whenever they could, and in 1948 they resigned and went into business.
Mr Walker had been with the SEC for 23 years and so had earned long service leave.
The SEC was some years ahead of the law in providing for long service leave, but it had a rule that a man had to be 45 to collect.
Mr Walker wasn’t old enough officially but he talked the Commission into giving him his six months pay.
Mr Bennie had his deferred pay and a bonus from the Air Force and an insurance policy had matured when he was 40.
The site of the factory was swampy, so, if the partners were to lay the usual sunken railway track for the truck carrying timber from stack to kiln they would have to concrete it.
Since they couldn’t afford the concrete, Mr Walker designed a different kind of truck that could be used on rails laid above ground. This incorporates its own hydraulic jacking system and its own turn-table and has turned out better than the usual one".
The start of a new business
My Grandfather is on the left
|Gordon Walker and one of his shooting medals|
My father says that Granddad was an excellent shot and he would often go to the shooting range on a Saturday afternoon. Dad would sit behind the targets keeping his head down and be given a signal when he could come out and change the targets. Dad would be paid a shilling to change the targets.
Fishing was also a passion. My grandfather and uncle took two years, working weekends, to build the Vagabond; a 27ft motor cruiser.
The Latrobe Valley Advocate reported October 7th 1958;
"BUILDING THE VAGABOND"
Few men would have the courage to tackle the building of a 16 seater motor cruiser with no experience of the craft, but it is exactly the task that Gordon Walker and his son, set themselves two years ago, and on Saturday they realised an ambition when they sailed their beautiful boat along Manns Beach and then to 90 Miles Beach. The behaviour of the boat? Perfect, was the opinion of the big party that sailed on this trip."
|4th October 1958|
Launching the Vagabond
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