The Alfred Hawley was built in Pile's yard, Sunderland, for Walker & Co. of London in 1860. A neat little three-masted wooden barque registered at 520 tons, she measured 134 feet in length with a 29 foot beam and spent her working life in the Australian trade, particularly Tasmania.
Mr. T.B. Walker, the founder of Walker & Co., was a very prominent figure amongst London's shipowners during the third quarter of the nineteenth century. For many years Chairman of Lloyd's Register, he took particular pride in the appearance of his ships which were always notably smart and well-kept, with everything in perfect order, especially when in port. The Walker fleet, mostly smallish barques, also had a reputation for speed and it was said that T.B. Walker never appointed a master who did not have an eye for a fresh breeze.