The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP


Media Release

FA172 - 14 November 2002

Sir Walter Crocker

I am deeply saddened by the death of Sir Walter Crocker, a former Lieutenant-Governor of South Australia, distinguished diplomat, World War II veteran and prolific author.

Sir Walter lived a long, rich and varied life characterised by distinguished service in a variety of fields, both at home and abroad. 

Sir Walter was born in Broken Hill, NSW.  He studied at  the University of Adelaide,  graduating in 1925 before going on to Oxford and Stanford universities.  Sir Walter gained his early experience during the 1930s in the Nigerian Colonial Service (1930-1934).  He worked for the League of Nations in the International Labour Organisation in Geneva from 1934-1940. 

In 1946 he was invited to be the first chief of the Africa Section in the United Nations Secretariat in New York where he served until 1949.  In 1949 he became founding Professor of International Relations at the Australian National University in Canberra.

He joined the diplomatic service in 1952 and served Australia with distinction for 18 consecutive years at ambassadorial level in a variety of countries including India (1952-1955 & 1958-1962), Indonesia (1955-1956), Canada (1957-1958), Nepal (1960-1962), Belgium and The Netherlands (1962-1965), Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda (1965-1967) and Italy (1967-1970). 

Following his retirement from the diplomatic service in 1970, Sir Walter returned home to Adelaide where he served as a member of the Council of Adelaide University from 1971-1978.  In 1973 he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of South Australia, a position he held until 1982.  He was appointed K.B.E in 1978.

I was privileged to enjoy a personal friendship with Sir Walter and I will greatly miss his deep insight, warm charm and vast knowledge.

I extend my deepest condolences to his family at this time.

Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Ministerial) +61 02 6277 7500 / Lyndall Sachs (Departmental) +61 02 6261 1555


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