S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Walker, Mr Albert Richard Edgington (geology, palaeontology)

Born: 1885, England.
Died: 1951, Place not known.

Albert R.E. ("Whistler") Walker was awarded the degree Bachelor of Science (BSc) by the University of London and was elected an associate of the Royal School of Mines (ARSM). After working for some time as an assistant to the professor of geology at the Royal College of Science in London he was appointed assistant in the Department of Geology and Mineralogy of the South African Museum, Cape Town, in 1908, succeeding Miss M. Wilman*. He assumed duty in September that year and spent six weeks in the field with staff of the Geological Commission of the Cape of Good Hope to acquaint himself with the geology of the colony. During 1909 he spent two months in the Orange River Colony (now the Free State) collecting dinosaur fossils from the Stormberg beds in the Fouriesburg district. He found three species new to science, of which two belonged to new genera, and mounted the fossils under the direction of Dr Robert Broom*, honorary keeper of the palaeontological collections. Walker also took most of the photographs of stone artefacts that were used to illustrate "The Stone Ages of South Africa..." by Dr L.A. P?ringuey*, the museum's director.

Walker resigned his post in January 1911 to take up an appointment as assistent in geology at the South African College, Cape Town. That same year the University of the Cape of Good Hope admitted him to its BSc degree on the basis of his degree from the University of London. In 1912 he made a collection of invertebrate fossils from the Uitenhage Group, which he presented to the South African Museum. At the South African College, and from 1918 at its successor, the University of Cape Town, he was known as a committed teacher of geology, but did not do much research. The following appear to be his only publications: "Note on spodumene from Namaqualand" (as co-author with G.C. Scully, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa, 1914); "The granite area of the Schapenberg, Somerset West" (Ibid, 1917); "On hyalite" (as co-author with J.S. van der Lingen, Ibid, 1922); "On a heavy mineral concentrate from the Kuils River district, Cape Province, and the occurrence of Xenotime therein" and "Xenotime: An accessory constituent of certain Cape Province granites" (both as co-author with J.S. van der Lingen, Transactions of the Geological Society of South Africa, 1925); and The Seapoint granite-slate contact (Guide to excursion A.3 of the Fifteenth International Geological Congress, Pretoria, 1929, 5p).

Walker was a member of the Royal Society of South Africa. He remained in the Department of Geology of the University of Cape Town until his retirement in 1949 or 1950.

List of sources:
Cape of Good Hope. Report of the trustees of the South African Museum, 1908, 1909.

Fuller, A.O. University of Cape Town. In C.R. Anhaeusser (ed.), A century of geological endeavour in southern Africa, 1895-1995 (pp. 181-190). Johannesburg: Geological Society of South Africa, 1997.

Hall, A.L. A bibliography of South African geology.... Pretoria: Geological Survey, Memoirs No. 25 (1927) and No. 27 (1931).

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). . Documents relating to Walker, Albert Richard Edgington.

Phillips, H. The University of Cape Town, 1918-1948: The formative years. University of Cape Town, 1993.

Ritchie, W. The history of the South African College, 1829-1918. Cape Town: T. Maskew Miller, 1918.

Royal Society of South Africa. Transactions, 1908-1922, Vol. 1, 4, 6 and 10.

Summers, R.F.H. A history of the South African Museum, 1825-1975. Cape Town: Balkema, 1975.

Union of South Africa. Report of the South African Museum for the years 1910, 1911, 1912. Cape Town, 1913.

University of the Cape of Good Hope. Calendar, 1912/13.

Compiled by: C. Plug