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At a first encounter, you might not guess the Deakin University historian can barely see. "Probably the best account I can give of this," he says, explaining what appears before him, "is the pixelated image that you get on television when they are blocking out the face to remove identifying features." Professor Walker succumbed six years ago to a condition that left the central field of vision damaged, though the muscles around his eyes have not been affected.
At 65, the award-winning author and Australian studies professor is one of this country's most influential historians. His life has been built on a passion for books and writing, so the sudden loss of a faculty so central to his academic work over 40 years was a serious blow.