Established 1894

The Wallaby Club .Inc

Biographical entry Batchelor, Egerton Lee (1865 - 1911)

10 April 1865
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
8 October 1911
Warburton, Victoria, Australia


Egerton Batchelor joined the Wallaby Club in 1910 and maintained his membership until his sudden death on a walk in 1911. This death was the only one recorded in the first 50 years of the Club. He was the Federal Minister for External Affairs at the time.


During the presidentship of Ernest Skeats 'occurred the only death on a walk in our 50 years of existence. Egerton Lee Batchelor, a South Australian, who had, as a young man, held office in several South Australian Governments, and was at the time Minister for External Affairs in the Fisher Ministry, had been Chief Guest of the Club at the Annual Dinner in June, 1910. Gale, the President, invited him to be his guest at the next outing, and during the progress of the walk both Batchelor and Theyre Weigall were elected members. Batchelor usually attended the all-day outings on Sundays.'

'A week-end excursion has been arranged for Saturday and Sunday, October 7-8, 1911, to climb Mount Donna Buang in the Warburton District. Members left Melbourne on Saturday, stayed at Warburton over night, and on Sunday morning made an early start to ascend the mountain. We had been steadily climbing for about an hour in single file and had reached a small piece of flatish ground when the writer [Alfred Hart] and Frank Clapin, who were five or six paces behind Batchelor, noticed him begin to stumble and, after staggering a few yards, fall down and lie motionless on the ground. Drs Syme and Hornabrook, who were of the party, examined him, and tried to revive him, but found that he was beyond all human help.'

'We abandoned the walk at once, sent for assistance, improvised a stretcher, and members carried the body of their comrade down the mountain to Warburton. During their progress downwards, while Mr Justice Higgins was helping carry his dead friend, he stumbled and was struck on the ankle by the stretcher-pole and had to be assisted himself. The sad news was telegraphed, and a special train, carrying two Cabinet Ministers, conveyed the party to Melbourne. On arrival at Melbourne, we all went with the cortege to the Queen's Hall, Parliament House, where the Prime Minister, Mr Fisher, thanked us for paying the respects due to his colleague and our friend. He was only forty-six years of age, and his death was a severe loss, not merely to this friends and his party, but to Australia. It was a very bad week-end for the Club, as Sir John Hoad had died two days earlier.'

Alfred Hart, History of the Wallaby Club, Melbourne, 1944, pages 32-33.

From the Australian Dictionary of Biography entry:

'A 'vigorous, wiry-looking abstemious man', Batchelor was, however, never robust. On 8 October 1911, when climbing Mount Donna Buang near Warburton, Victoria, with fellow members of the Wallaby Club, he collapsed from a heart attack and died immediately. After a memorial service in Melbourne, his body was returned to Adelaide for burial in West Terrace cemetery. He was survived by his wife and six children, and his estate was valued for probate at £3200. A locality near Darwin was later named after him.'


1910 - 1911
Membership - Wallaby Club

Published resources

Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Dean Jaensch, 'Batchelor, Egerton Lee (1865 - 1911)', 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 28, 32, 33.

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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