Billionaire property man Lang Walker AO died at the weekend, aged 78, surrounded by his family.
He developed more than 1000 assets, and weathered at least three recessions in the course of his career, after founding what would become Walker Corp with his father, Alec, in 1964.
This would have been his 60th year in business.
The Walker family said the property stalwart, husband, father and grandfather would forever be in their hearts.
“Lang loved creating incredible places where people can live and work, but he loved his family more than anything else in the world and his generosity and affection had no boundaries,” the statement said.
“Our hearts are broken by the loss of a great man who changed the lives of so many people through his visionary projects and philanthropy.
“His zest for life and his relentless pursuit of perfection lives on within everyone in the Walker family.”
The directors of Walker Corp paid tribute to Walker in a statement, which acknowledged he had “built a world class business shaping the Group into Australia’s largest privately owned property company”.
“Lang’s vision will remain an enduring force through the Walker DNA and the Walker Way which he actively passed on - it is embedded in our culture and our modus operandi,” Walker Corp chief executive David Gallant said.
“The vital importance of business continuity and the need to maintain key relationships to retain our pre-eminent position has been instilled in all of us.”
Walker’s visionary projects
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The Urban Developer founder Adam Di Marco described Walker as “the most mercurial and successful city shaper in modern Australian history”.
“Over more than 60 years Walker Corp successfully developed across almost every sector, across Australia, tackled the most challenging and complex sites and built some of the most sustainable and enduring real estate assets,” Di Marco said.
Walker sat down with Di Marco at the flagship conference Urbanity in 2019, where the property mogul was honoured with the inaugural lifetime achievement award.
In his interview with Di Marco, Walker revealed “doing a luxury island in Fiji was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done”.
“As a kid I was always very entrepreneurial, always looking for opportunities,” Walker said, a skill he applied with relish in his working life.
Walker Corporation spearheaded the development of Parramatta’s town square and Western Sydney University, transformed Rhodes waterfront land, reinvigorated Sydney’s wharfs, is building out the new Maroochydore CBD, and masterplanning communities in Adelaide.
Walker has been lauded for his vision and capacity to transform underutilised parcels of land into destinations, and for his unwavering determination to forge his own path.
Urban Taskforce chief executive Tom Forrest said the property industry had “lost a great leader and innovator”.
“[He] was distinguished across the Australian property sector, with a career spanning over 50 years,” Forrest said.
“Lang Walker has left behind an indelible mark on the urban landscape of the nation’s two major cities - with the award-winning Parramatta Square and Collins Square in Melbourne a legacy and tribute to Lang’s drive and determination.”
Property Council chief executive Mike Zorbas said Walker’s contribution to the sector and Australian life was immense.
“Lang Walker was a great son of Sydney. He was a great champion of the property industry and a great contributor to many Australian cities and communities,” Zorbas said.
“Lang lived and breathed property for more than five decades. During that time he housed and employed tens of thousands of Australians while investing in and shaping our cities for the better.”