Collection MS 98 - Diary and photographs of Eleanor J. Walker

Diary of Eleanor J. Walker, pp.1-45 Diary of Eleanor J. Walker, pp.46-97 Eleanor J. Walker The mission house, Dobu Eleanor J. Walker in Dobu with local girl Eleanor J. Walker with two of her sisters
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Diary and photographs of Eleanor J. Walker


  • 1881-1893 (Creation)

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Digital PDF. Originally 1 reel; 35mm microfilm.

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Biographical history

Eleanor Jane Walker (1863-1946) (Nellie) was born in Harrogate, North Yorkshire on 1 March 1863. She was the third child and first daughter of the eight children of Thomas Walker (1833-1903) and Ellen (also) Walker. Her parents were drapers, hoziers and milliners in Harrogate.

Thomas left his family in 1872 and Ellen reared her children alone while maintaining the family business. The adult children all left for Australia at different times. Eldest son John Arthur (Arthur) died when Maitland was shipwrecked off Huon Island, Queensland in 1874. Alfred sailed for Australia on Harbinger ex London on 19 August 1882. Eleanor was 22 when she arrived in Sydney on the Chimborazo on 1 December 1885.Her occupation was documented as dressmaker. After their mother died in February 1887, her siblings Annie, Gertrude Eliza (Gertie), Mary Emily (Emmie) and Edmund Cromwell (Eddie) sailed for Sydney on RMS Orizba on 24 November 1887. Thomas Ernest (Ernest) was the last of the family to leave England and arrived in Sydney on 6 August 1888.

On arrival in New South Wales Eleanor resided in the New England area where her brother Alfred and family had settled. Family reminiscence is that her fiancée Anthony died on the eve of their wedding, and in 1891 Eleanor responded to an appeal for women missionaries in British New Guinea. Eleanor and Jane (Jennie) Tinney from Ballarat became the first two Wesleyan missionary sisters appointed for foreign work. The two women departed Sydney on the Borough Belle for Dobu Island in British New Guinea on 23 April 1892.

In June 1896 Eleanor returned to Sydney on furlough and returned to Dobu for at
least a further four years before joining a Mission in India. She then joined the Aboriginal Mission at Bulgandramine in New South Wales and also worked on other Missions in Australia. By 1928 she had returned to Sydney and in the early 1930's visited England. Her letters and memorabilia are held by extended family. These include the Journal, shells, a wooden club, a dingy oar and photographs.

Eleanor was a member and office bearer of the Women's Auxiliary to Foreign (Overseas) Missions and a supporter of missionary work for the rest of her life.

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Eleanor J. Walker was a member of the Methodist mission at Dobu in the D'Entrecasteaux Islands of Papua New Guinea (then called British New Guinea). The mission was established in June 1891. For details, see George Brown, D.D., Pioneer Missionary and Explorer : An Autobiography, London, 1908, pp485-92.

The diary describes how the diarist came to join the mission and gives an account of her life at Dobu.

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(1970) Mrs L.J. Dalkin, St Marys, New South Wales
(2016) Margaret Dalkin, New South Wales

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Originally microfilmed in the 1970s. Diary was digitised from the original in 2016 and the four photographs were also digitised and added to this title.

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Digitised in November of 2015. This reel was split into 8 PDFs for the digital version.

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