Charles Hawker

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.
In 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.

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