Walter Skelton was born in Scarsdale, Victoria in 5 February 1864, the son of Walter Skelton and Maria Moyle. His parents were sufficiently prosperous to educate him at Wesley College in Melbourne. In 1883 his father, also a draper, passed away in Dunolly. In 1885 he tendered for a new house to be built. In 11 March 1887 at Collingwood he married Grace Elizabeth Threlkeld in her parents house. Their son, Walter, was born in 1888 and passed away within 5 month. Then in 1890 they had a daughter,Ida Frances, who lived a full life.
Skelton was an accountant and also a businessman; in 1900 the Weekly Times reported that ‘At Dunolly he carries on business as a merchant, and is a leading public man’. He ran one of the drapery businesses in Dunolly until 1910 when he offered it for sale by tender.
He was a breeder of fine poultry ‘who delights in the feather hobby’ – Indian Game, Black Orpingtons and Langshams. Over the first decade of the 20th century Skelton entered many poultry competitions and either won his class or was well placed nearly every year from 1902 to 1910. While he delighted in the hobby, it was also a business as he sold poultry and fertilised eggs. The eggs had a warranty on their fertility or immediate replacement.
Skelton invented and applied for a patented on an improved combination water tank and cool chamber in 1896. In 1900 his solicitor wrote to the Herald newspaper in Melbourne requesting publication of the letter to clarify to the public his patent another claimed inventor. The letter advises that Skeltons invention had previously been published in “The Scientific Australian”.