Reginald James Walters was born on 7 July 1891 in North Fitzroy, Victoria, the only child of coachbuilder Robert Walters and Annie Mabel Mary (nee Crisp).
In the mid-1890s the family came to Western Australia and lived in Chester Road, Claremont. Reg studied art and drawing at Perth Technical School from around 1905 and in 1908 began a five year apprenticeship with his uncle Frank’s leading firm, Meston & Walters, in Sherwood Lane, Perth. Predominantly a signwriting company, Meston & Walters also specialised in art, embossing, glass gilding, wallpaper hanging and house painting.
By 1910 the Walters family had moved to Surrey Street, West Guildford, where Robert had swapped coachbuilding for storekeeping. Reg, a keen sportsman, joined the Guildford and Districts Amateur Club and distinguished himself in swimming and athletics.
...And at the Wesley Church in West Guildford, Reg met local lass Marion Pearl ‘May’ McSwain, two years his junior. Within a few years they were engaged.
Reg completed his apprenticeship in around 1913. He remained in Guildford where he was soon established as the district’s signwriter and by 1914 was advertising for an apprentice himself. In September he joined in partnership with Frederick Baseden in Walters & Baseden, signwriters, house finishers and painters, at Byfield’s Hall in Fitzgerald Street, Northam.