Established 1894

The Wallaby Club .Inc

Biographical entry Baracchi, Pietro Paolo Giovanni Ernesto (1851 - 1926)

25 February 1851
Florence, Italy
23 July 1926
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Pietro Baracchi joined the Wallaby Club in 1899 and maintained his membership until is death in 1926. He was President in 1904.He was a civil engineer who migrated to Melbourne from Florence in 1876. He joined the Melbourne Observatory in 1883, becoming the Victorian Government Astronomer in 1900. He was jointly responsible (with W.G. Duffield) for the establishment of the Mount Stromlo Observatory. He was also President of the Royal Society of Victoria, a member of the Royal Astronomical Society, and Knight Commander of the Order of Italy.


'Pietro Baracchi, one of the early members of the reformed Club, was an engineer trained in Italy. He had been in the Survey Department, and had transferred to the observatory and worked under that distinguished scientist, R.J. Ellery, FRS, whom he suceeded. He used to tell an amusing story about his difficulties with the English language. The chainmen of the Survey party used to tell an amusing story about the 'bloody' Italian. He consulted his dictionary and found it meant "full of blood", "ruddy", and took the epithet as a compliment to his complexion. At breakfast they would ask him to pass the "bloody" chops. The epithet seemed appropirate because the cook send them to table underdone. When they asked him to pass the "bloody" milk, he was bewildered. However, he soon learnt how necessary the great Australian adjective was to make conversation complete and satisfactory.'

Baracchi was on of our most regular members, full of fun and high spirits, and remained in the Club as long as he lived. He was very much affected by the honour of being President of a typical British club, and prized very highly this proof of his having become in every sense one of us.


1899 - 1926
Membership - Wallaby Club

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Sources used to compile this entry: J. L. Perdrix, 'Baracchi, Pietro Paolo Giovanni Ernesto (1851 - 1926)', in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition edn, Australian National University, 2006,; Attwood, Harold (ed.), The Centenary History of the Wallaby Club, Landscape Publications, Mont Albert, 1993. List of members page 130, additional references page 23, 26, 29, 30, 44, 74, photograph page 21, 42.

Prepared by: Gavan McCarthy

A Private Club

The Wallaby Club is a Melbourne-based walking club established in 1894 with a strong bias towards good fellowship, talking and an appreciation of both the natural and built environments. Membership is strictly limited and is by invitation only.

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