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Re: Mrs. Walker in Australia

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Posted by Robin Selby on December 20, 2018 at 07:26:07 user RobinSelby.

In Reply to: Mrs. Walker in Australia posted by wdmtgts on December 18, 2018 at 02:06:07:

My knowledge of Australian pastoral matters comes solely from the novels of Trollope and Nevil Shute, with echoes of ‘Flying Doctor calling Wollumboola Base’, but I get the idea that sheep stations are on a massive scale, can be very profitable if they have good water, and are isolated and a bit rough. Ransome’s reference to dances is a nice softening touch. Surely Ransome, not an ungenerous man, would have endowed Mrs Walker’s father’s sheep station with a plentiful supply of water. Moreover the price of wool rose during the 1920’s. Thus it follows as night follows day that Mrs Walker’s father was the elder brother who inherited the main asset, while the inheritance of his younger brother – the one who lived in Sydney - was much less valuable, perhaps an agency or some such.

During the holidays, it might be an interesting task to calculate Cdr Walker’s private income. Today it costs about £35K a year to maintain a child at a public school, or £140K for four minus discounts for siblings. However, in recent years public schools have increased their fees much faster than inflation, so fees in the 1930’s would have been lower relative to income. Doubtless the Navy made a significant contribution to costs of education, but perhaps this was only when Cdr Walker was serving abroad. In all probability costs were higher than Cdr Walker’s pay, and the excess could only come out of unearned income. If so, Ransome must have killed off Cdr Walker’s parents so that he could come into his inheritance early. Or alternatively Mrs Walker brought a handsome dowry with her.

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