This annual oration is dedicated to the memory of WG (Bill) Walker, who died suddenly on 25 July 1991 at the age of 62. The inaugural William Walker Oration was delivered in 1991 by Rt. Hon. Sir Zelman Cowen. The oration was originally delivered as part of our annual awards ceremony, but in recent years has sometimes been a keynote address at the annual conference.
Of Professor Bill Walker, Professor Bill Connell wrote:
“He was a person with an immense capacity for work, for adventure, and for love and friendship. In his working life his greatest achievement was to establish the study of educational administration on a sound basis, to introduce it firmly into academic programs, and to persuade current and aspiring educational administrators of the importance of studying that field seriously”.
Professor Walker taught and carried our research in several Australian and overseas universities. He received travel grants from the Fulbright and Kellogg Foundations, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Council for International Exchange of Scholars and the Heinrich Hertz Foundation. He was founding editor of The Journal of Educational Administration and The Practising Manager and author of numerous books and articles on educational management.
Bill Walker earned the many honours conferred on him: a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Fellowships of the Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration, the Australian Council for Educational Administration and the Australian College of Education, the Gold Medal of ACEA, the Sir Edmund Herring Memorial Award, and the posthumous creation of the W G Walker Memorial Fulbright Scholarship. In 1979 Bill was made a Member of the Order of Australia.
Bill Walker’s personal qualities are remembered by all who were honoured to know him. He had an immense capacity for friendship, a genuine interest in others and a fine sense of humour. He was a warm, caring person, always with a smile.
At a moving ceremony at the 1994 International Intervisitation Program in Toronto, Dan Griffiths honoured the memory of Bill with a moving citation. Dan Griffiths’ final words, in reference to Bill Walker’s last speech in America were:
Bill noted that a famous British educator had observed, “We influence by the fact of being alive”. Bill was alive and he influenced – oh, how he influenced! Few have influenced so many over such great distances. The world was his neighbourhood and he was at home in all of it. We give thanks that Bill was one of us’.
Professor Allan Walker
Professor Andy Hargreaves
Dr Douglas Reeves
Professor Viviane Robinson
Professor John McBeath
Professor Keith Walker
Professor Patrick Duignan
Hon Clare Martin
Hon John Dawkins
Ms Margaret Jackson
Professor William Mulford
Oration not delivered
Emeritus Professor Hedley Beare
Dr Allan Walker
Associate Professor Frank Crowther
Mr John Walker
Emeritus Professor Peter Karmel
Professor Judith Chapman
Dr Brian Caldwell
Professor Fenton Sharpe
Right Honourable Sir Zelman Cowen