Crawford, Walter

Walter Ferguson Crawford KBE CMG (1894-1978) was the son of the widowed Mrs Annie Crawford and, while born in Malvern Victoria, grew up in Doon 46 Malton Road Beecroft.

Annie Henzel Stoddart had married James Henry Crawford on 23 November 1892 [1]. They had three children – Walter (born 1894), Harry Keith (born 1895) and Margaret Catherine (born 1899). Tragically James Crawford, who had been drinking heavily for years, shot himself in scrub at Sandringham, Victoria, on 6 April 1906 [2]. The family re-located to Beecroft in 1907 and moved next to Annie Crawford’s sister, Lily Antrobus.

Margaret Boycot (Lily) Stoddart had married Edmund Arthur Antrobus in Prahan, Victoria on 6 February 1884 [3].

All the Crawford children attended Beecroft Primary School. Walter then attended Sydney Grammar. From there he became a resident of St Paul’s College, University of Sydney (1913-14) where in his third year Arts he became in 1915 a Rhodes Scholar. He gained a Sydney University blue for both cricket and rowing.  He also played cricket for Oxford University in 1919 [4].

While in England on his scholarship he enlisted in 1916 and became a Second Lieutenant in the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders. He was wounded in action [5]. His brother Bombardier Harry Keith Crawford (who had also gone to Sydney Grammar but then became a jackaroo) was killed on the Western Front (Hill 60, Ypres) in 1917 [6]. His cousin, Arthur Frederick Antrobus who grew up next door, also served on the Western Front and he survived [7].

Following the war Walter started adopting as his first name, Ferguson, and held a range of positions in what is now Sudan from 1921 culminating in his appointment as Governor of Northern Sudan in 1941-1944. Upon his return to England he worked in the Foreign Office (in its Middle East Section) from 1946 to 1960 and was then Director-General of the Middle Eastern Association from 1960 to 1964. In 1962-1963 he was a Member of the Council of the Royal Central Asian Society. He gifted his papers to the University of Durham. While married he does not appear to have had children.

His mother had died, in Cremorne, in 1938 [8]. Her sister, and his aunt, Mrs Lily Antrobus died at her residence 1 Park Avenue Beecroft on 25 August 1942 [9].

[1]        Argus, 5 December 1892

[2]        Age, 11 April 1906

[3]        Telegraph St Kilda Prahan and South Yarra Guardian, 16 February 1884.

[4]        Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 28 November 1914 p6; 5 June 1915 p 13; 25 March 1916 and 1 September 1917. Daily Telegraph, 12 August 1919.

[5]        Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 25 March and 12 August 1916.

[6]        Sydney Morning Herald, 23 August 1917 and 3 September 1917; Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 1 September 1917 and 8 September 1917.

[7]        Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate, 13 May 1916.

[8]        She was still living in Beecroft until at least 1921 as per John Sands Directory and Sydney Morning Herald, 15 September 1920. As to her death see: Sydney Morning Herald, 9 August 1938.

[9]        Sydney Morning Herald, 28 August 1942.