Facebook Twitter Google+ You Tube Instagram

Sir Walter Murdoch

Sir Walter Murdoch was born on 17 September 1874, in the Free Church Manse in Rosehearty, a fishing village in northern Aberdeenshire, Scotland. In 1884 the Murdoch family immigrated to Melbourne, Australia.

Walter was educated in Melbourne and after graduating from the University of Melbourne he worked as a schoolteacher and then a lecturer at the University. He moved to Perth in 1912 to be the first Professor of English and eventually Professor Emeritus in the new University of Western Australia.

Throughout his academic career, Sir Walter was a broadcaster and a respected writer of essays and articles. During the 1930s, Murdoch's entertaining essays became a mainstay of Perth literary culture.

He retired from the University position of Chair of English in 1939 at the age of 65, and focused on his own writing.

Whilst maintaining a link with the University through a five-year term as Chancellor (1943 -1947), Murdoch began to emerge as Australia's finest essayist.

In 1945 he began to write his weekly 'Answers to Reader' questions - a column in The West Australian that gathered a phenomenal readership over the next 20 years. Murdoch remained a working journalist into his 90s, with his letters and essays remaining as shrewd and entertaining as ever.

In retirement he lived quietly in his South Perth home and passed away there on 30 July 1970.

A few weeks before his death it was announced that Western Australia's second University, Murdoch University, would be named after him.