If anyone was 'born with a silver spoon in
their mouth', Charles Allan Seymour Hawker certainly was!
Charles was born 16 May 1894 Bungaree near Clare SA, the
second son of Michael Seymour Hawker who was the manager
of the Hawker family stations, and his wife Elizabeth Begg,
née McFarlane. Charles' grandfather was George Charles
who founded Bungaree Station in 1841 and established the
Hawker pastoral empire. Charles was educated at Geelong
Grammar and Cambridge.
He was resident in England when World War I broke out and
enlisted on 1 August 1915 as a lieutenant in the 6th Battalion
of the Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's). He was
wounded on 16 August and again on 25 September at Loos,
where he lost an eye. Although classified unfit for active
service, Hawker insisted on returning to the front with
his battalion in May 1917 in command of a company, with
the rank of captain. On 4 October 1917, at Broodseinde near
Ypres, he was again severely wounded, and paralysed from
the waist down. From then on, he was only able to walk with
the aid of two sticks and leg irons.
1920 Charles Hawker became involved in the management of
the family's pastoral holdings in South Australia.
From 1927 to 1930 Hawker was the president of the new conservative
political party, the Liberal Federation of South Australia
and in 1929 he entered the House of Representatives as member
for Wakefield. Prime Minister, Joe Lyons appointed Charles
Hawker as Minister for Markets and Repatriation.
Charles Allan Seymour Hawker was killed on 25 October 1938
travelling from Adelaide to Melbourne en route to attend
a cabinet meeting when the aircraft Kyeema crashed
into Mount Dandenong in Victoria. His ashes were buried
in the churchyard of Bungaree St Michael.
It was considered at the time that his premature death denied
the nation the services of a potential prime minister. His
services to the nation are recongnised by named buildings
at St Mark's College North Adelaide and the Waite Institute
in Adelaide, a library at Geelong Grammar School and a room
in Burgmann College, Canberra. In 1968 a Federal electorate
was named in his honour. A Canberra suburb within Belconnen
also bears his name. The Charles Allan Seymour Hawker Memorial
Scholarship is the most rewarding privately funded scholarship
available to year 12 students in Australia.
Footnote: Eighteen people were killed when the Kyeema,
an Australian National Airways DC-2, VH-UYC crashed. The
aircraft was en route to Melbourne from Adelaide. The disaster
is blamed on a combination of the presence of a heavy fog
and the use of an outdated navigational practice which relied
solely on landmarks to determine position. It was decided
that the pilot believed he was descending for a landing
at Essendon but was grossly off course causing him to crash
into the mountain.
Those killed in the tragedy- apart from Charles Hawker were,
a party of barristers and solicitors, a group of wine industry
executives, and a young couple on their honeymoon:
Aircrew: Captain Alfred Webb, Junior Captain Allan Steen,
Air Hostess Elva Jones, Cadet Pilot Philip Pring,
Passengers: Leonard Abrahams KC, Alfred Gain, Hans Gloe,
Stella Gloe, Gordon Goddard, Hugo Gramp, Thomas Hardy, Charles
Hawker MHR, George Ling, James Massie, Vaughan Pate, Elizabeth
Schrader, Lancelot Shirley, Sidney Hill Smith.