Edward Meade Bagot

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Edward Meade (also spelled "Mead") "Ned" Bagot (13 December 1822 – 28 July 1886), was a pastoralist and developer who held large properties in Central Australia.


Edward was born in Rockforest, Tubber, County Clare Ireland,[1] the second son of Charles Hervey Bagot and his wife Mary, née MacCarthy. He was educated at a school run by Dr. King in Ennis, County Clare, and groomed for service with the East India Company, but was prevented by a health problem from taking a position. He emigrated to South Australia with his parents and siblings on the Birman, arriving in December 1840.[2]

His father took up a pastoral property at Koonunga in 1841, which Ned helped manage, then in 1843 took a position as accountant and store manager at the newly opened Kapunda copper mine at Kapunda. In 1850 he was appointed a director of the South Kapunda mine.[1]

Pastoral interests[edit]

His properties included the Murthoo Run 1846–, Ned's Corner, on the River Murray, 1854–, Kulnine, Wall Wall, "Beefacres" (now Windsor Gardens) on the River Torrens, from 1853 to 1864, Mudla Wirra (with Richard Bowen Colley) 1865–, description of Beefacres at http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50169874

He purchased Northern Territory lease No.1 and No.2 Undoolya Station, some 10 km east of Alice Springs in 1872, then his son Ted, his stepson James Churchill-Smith (1851 – 3 October 1922),[3] and William Gilbert (1850–1923), son of Joseph Gilbert, drove 1,000 head of cattle to Undoolya Station from Adelaide and built the first homestead.[4]

He took out a pastoral lease on Dalhousie Springs in 1873 and built the homestead (c. 100 km north of Oodnadatta), which is now in ruins. This area figured prominently in the search for Ludwig Leichhardt. Charles Todd ran the Overland Telegraph Line from Port Augusta to Macumba Well (c. 40 km north of Oodnadatta), with Benjamin Babbage supervising that part of the line, which was contracted by Bagot.[5] His son, E. M. "Ted" Bagot, died there in 1881. The property, of 1,788 square miles (4,630 km2) of excellent grazing country was purchased by John Lewis (father of Essington Lewis) in 1896.

He was persuaded to take up a mining lease in 1874, and set up the "Golden Reef Company", but dissolved it as soon as he found the claim worthless.[6]

He was appointed Justice of the Peace in 1861 and resigned it in 1876. He was reappointed in 1877 after his insolvency had been settled.[7] (He and partner Gabriel Bennett went into voluntary liquidation in 1877; creditors were awarded 5 shillings in the pound,[8] but Bagot refused to evade his creditors as others had done, and by 1880 all his debts had been fully discharged, though it entailed selling most assets, including Undoolya station, on which he had just spent £30,000, at a loss[9] staying on as manager.[10])

Other interests[edit]

He was a successful breeder of cattle and horses, winning many trophies. One of his horses, Don Giovanni, sired the 1873 Melbourne Cup winner, Don Juan. His thoroughbred mare Cowra won the Adelaide Cup in 1866 and 1867. Another horse, Neetlee had only one start, in 1867, when she famously threw her rider.[11] Ned was a committee member of the S.A. Jockey Club in 1880.[12] He was used as a test case to prove the validity of the Totalizator Repeal Act, which had the curious effect of exempting "the tote", while not a lawful instrument, from the Lotteries Act.[13]

A section of grazing land held by Bagot and Bennett at Mile End, south of Henley Beach Road, was used by the from 1859 (or earlier) to 1869 as a racecourse (the "Thebarton Course"), notably for the South Australian Jockey Club.

His skills as a judge of livestock were regularly called for by the Show Society.

Last days[edit]

His end was a matter of newspaper speculation for nearly a week. He had gone missing after leaving a Hunt Club celebration at H. E. Downer's at Magill. He was well-known (and loved) for his eccentric dress — knee breeches, gaiters, shooting coat, and a terribly out-of-fashion broad-brimmed belltopper hat, even in the hottest weather — and there was no shortage of sightings up to North Adelaide but then the trail went cold for the hundreds of citizens and police out searching for him. Eventually he was found dead at the bottom of a Dry Creek quarry where he had presumably stumbled and fallen.[14]

His residence on Brougham Place was purchased by George Edward Fulton.


Edward Meade "Ned" Bagot (13 December 1822 – 24 July 1886) married Mary Pettman[15] (1830 – 5 March 1855) on 1 August 1853. He married again, to the widow Anne Smith, née Walworth (1830 – 16 February 1892), on 30 July 1857. Anne had at least one child, James Churchill-Smith (1851 – 4 October 1922) by her previous marriage. Ned Bagot's family included:

  • Edward Meade Bagot Jr. "Ted" (17 July 1848 – 5 June 1881) was born to Mary Pettman before her marriage to Ned Bagot. Ted died at Dalhousie Springs.
  • James Churchill-Smith (1851 – 4 October 1922) was adopted by E. M. Bagot on his marriage to James's mother. He was educated at St. Peter's College and worked all his life for his stepfather then for Bagot Shakes & Lewis Ltd. He married Lucy or Lucie McManus (c. 1868 – 14 December 1959) on 12 January 1890.
  • James Churchill-Smith, MC and Bar (15 October 1894 – 15 March 1968) served as a Major in both World Wars. His diaries are an important record of World War I.[16]
  • George Wallwall Bagot (2 March 1858 – 3 July 1919), often described as Ned's eldest son, married Ellen Keynes (c. 1858 – 12 January 1925) of Keyneton on 14 April 1881. He was a director of Bagot's Executor and Trustee Company, became partner in Bagot, Shakes & Lewis, land agents, with James Shakes, John Lewis (father of Essington Lewis), A. L. Harrold, W. Gilbert, H. W. Hughes, David James and George Dowling. The company absorbed Luxmoore, Dowling & Jeffrey Ltd. in 1906 then was absorbed into Goldsbrough Mort and Co. Ltd. in 1924.
  • George Wallwall Bagot Jr. (15 September 1878 – 1919)
  • Richard Neetlee "Dick" Bagot (11 July 1860 – 20 January 1934) married Agnes Adeline King (c. 1860 – 4 August 1951) on 27 December 1887. Residence 7 Marlborough Street, St Peters.
  • Frank Neetlee Bagot ( – ) married Caroline Martha Holmes on 28 November 1918, with Elder, Smith & Co., Limited, living at Subiaco, Western Australia.
  • John Neetlee "Jack" Bagot (17 December 1898 – 1977) married Margaret Beatrice Fisher (1898–1987) on 11 June 1932. Margaret was a granddaughter of George Napier Birks.
  • Richard Neetlee Bagot (26 February 1904 – ) married Phyllis Heggaton ( – ), daughter of P. T. Heggaton
  • William Watermit Bagot (20 August 1861 – 16 July 1862)
  • Charles Mulcra Bagot (9 March 1863 – 22 July 1895) married Ada Annie Westmacott, lived at Oodnadatta to 1907 then 30 Marlborough Street, College Park
  • Charles Ernest Bagot (twin) (26 December 1893 – 7 December 1915) died of wounds at Gallipoli.
  • Almerta Annie "Girlie" Bagot (twin) (26 December 1893 – ) born at Oodnadatta married E. Wilson in September 1926
  • George Edgar Bagot (24 April 1895 – 1987) dairy farmer of Echunga married Isabel Galbin on 9 October 1928.
  • Mary Bagot (25 August 1864 –) born at "Beefacres"
  • Lucy Cowra Bagot (18 November 1865 – 5 February 1898) born at "Beefacres", died at (which?) brother's place, Walkerville
  • Lille Nellnell Bagot (2 July 1867 – 1956) married sportsman and administrator Griffith Mostyn Evan (22 September 1861 – 25 December 1924) on 7 October 1891
  • Sophie Rose Bagot (14 February 1869 – 5 November 1889) at Brougham Place, North Adelaide
  • Annie Meade Bagot (31 July 1870 – 4 May 1910)
  • Edgar Watermeit Bagot (8 September 1872 – 13 April 1895) With Bank of New South Wales; died at Coolgardie.[17]
  • Allan Walter Bagot (24 March 1874 – ) (a mourner at E. M. Bagot's funeral, and mentioned in will of John Haimes)

For some details of the extended Bagot family, see Bagot Family


  1. ^ a b 'Bagot, Edward Meade (Ned) (1822–1886)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 6 April 2016.
  2. ^ http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/fh/passengerlists/1840Birman.gif
  3. ^ James Churchill-Smith's son Major James Churchill Smith M.C. (15 October 1894 – ) was a World War I hero
  4. ^ Bucknall, Graeme. Pioneers of the Old Track: Oodnadatta – Alice Springs, 1870–1929 Bucknall. Northern Territory Library Service, Darwin 1990. ISBN 0 7245 0557 1
  5. ^ Purvis, Mrs. A. V. Concerning the Meeting of the Ross and Mills Parties
  6. ^ http://espace.cdu.edu.au/eserv/cdu:6499/Thesis_CDU_6499_Phelts_B.pdf
  7. ^ "Appointments". South Australian Register. Adelaide. 28 December 1877. p. 6. Retrieved 17 March 2012 – via National Library of Australia. 
  8. ^ "Advertising.". South Australian Register. Adelaide. 14 April 1877. p. 2. Retrieved 17 March 2012 – via National Library of Australia. 
  9. ^ Forrest, Peter, "Undoolya", Centralian Advocate, 4 May 1984, p.7
    The new owners, Love and Tennant, suffered huge losses too, and it was sold to the Barrow Creek Pastoral Company in 1890. In 1891 the company sold it to Willowie Land and Pastoral Association, who sold it to the Hayes family in 1907. The Hayes family have retained the station ever since.
  10. ^ "Out among the People.". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 28 August 1936. p. 27. Retrieved 24 March 2012 – via National Library of Australia. 
  11. ^ "Jockey Club Summer Races". The South Australian Advertiser. 23 December 1867. p. 3. Retrieved 6 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  12. ^ "In the Supreme Court". South Australian Register. Adelaide. 24 March 1880. p. 6. Retrieved 17 March 2012 – via National Library of Australia. 
  13. ^ "Totalizator Repeal Act.". South Australian Register. Adelaide. 16 October 1883. p. 6. Retrieved 17 March 2012 – via National Library of Australia. 
  14. ^ "Obituary". South Australian Register. Adelaide. 9 August 1886. p. 2 Supplement: Supplement to the South Australian Register. Retrieved 14 March 2012 – via National Library of Australia. 
  15. ^ Mary was a daughter of Henry Pettman ( – 7 June 1857) of Hindley Street, one of Adelaide's first butchers, who arrived in South Australia on the Hooghly in 1839.
  16. ^ "Virtual War Memorial: James Churchill-Smith, MC and Bar". RSL. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  17. ^ "No title.". South Australian Register. Adelaide. 17 April 1895. p. 5. Retrieved 14 March 2012 – via National Library of Australia.