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A Gift From The Laird

I recently found a message sent to the Burnett Forum in 2010 in which the correspondent had asked about candleholders that he had been shown whilst working at a location on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia. They were inscribed “To George James Walker and Mrs Walker on their Silver Wedding” “From Sir Thomas Burnett of Leys” and each bore the date of 1899. He was curious about the background and whether they would be genuine.

Research revealed that George James Walker was a very respected architect, land agent & surveyor who married a Margaret Wilson of Ladylaw House, Wilton, Roxburghshire on 22 Oct 1874 – thus making 1899 their silver wedding anniversary. His home was Hillside House, Portlethen, Kincardineshire where he died on 20 Feb 1914 aged 76.

George James Walker was factor to many of the local estates and a great supporter & promoter of the Aberdeen Angus breed of cattle so would have been well known to Sir Thomas Burnett. Architectural records showed that he did architectural and surveying work for a number of properties on the Crathes Estate in the 1880s-1890s including a layout for Crathes Gardens. He also designed alterations, stables & farm buildings at Muchalls Castle in 1894-95.  George J. Walker was a guest, seated on Sir Thomas’s left, at a dinner to honour Mr Davidson, Factor at Crathes, in 1906 (see pp 321 & 326 of “Crannog to Castle”)

It would be most interesting to know how the candleholders found their way to Queensland!

Eileen Bailey. Genealogist & Historian