Edward Meade Bagot
TRAGIC DEATHS : EDWARD MEADE BAGOT
Edward Meade Bagot was well-known, highly respected and one of the wealthiest men in Adelaide in the late 19th century.
A successful pastoralist in the 1840’s to the 1860’s he owned many properties and raised award-winning horses, cattle and pigs. In 1850 he became a director of the South Kapunda mine following the discovery of copper there in 1843.
On Saturday 24 July, 1886, at the age of 63, Mr. Bagot did not return home as usual. The police were contacted and a search begun. It was established that he travelled to North Adelaide by tram, but the tram driver, who saw Mr. Bagot board, did not see him get off at his usual stop. It was later concluded that for some reason he got off the tram or fell while it was still in motion, and was thrown to the ground probably hitting his head, causing him to become dazed and confused. He was seen walking eastward along Melbourne Street, and at about 9pm spotted by two young girls in the Walkerville area. He asked them directions to “Bishop’s Corner”, a spot close by the Torrens River where the banks were steep. He was dishevelled, his clothes muddy and speech slurred. It was possible that he asked directions to “Bishop’s Court” close to where he resided, but the girls understood ‘Bishop’s Corner’, and the girls directed him there.
A milkwoman in the Walkerville area later stated that she spotted Mr. Bagot attempting to board a tram on the night of the 24th, but the driver would not allow him on board. There were a number of “roughs” present at the time and the possibility of foul play was explored. Further reports of sightings of Mr. Bagot walking along Smith Street in Walkerville and Hampstead Road were made. Meanwhile, the search of the Torrens continued from the Walkerville area to the Weir. A week later, on Saturday 31st July, he had still not been located and a reward of £20 was offered for any information that might lead to his discovery.
On Monday 2nd August, 9 days after his disappearance, his body was found by a guard at No. 3 quarry at Dry Creek. It appears that he stumbled in his dazed state and fell into the quarry on the night he disappeared. He was lying on a ledge 30 feet from the surface of the 90 foot deep pit. This particular quarry, which was usually worked by prisoners from the nearby Yatala Labour Prison, had been abandoned due to the poor quality of rock it yielded. Mr. Bagot’s valuables were found in his pockets, his watch having stopped at 2.40.
The inquest into his death found “That the death of the late Mr. Edward Meade Bagot was caused by his accidentally falling into a quarry at Dry Creek, he having wandered there while suffering from injuries to the brain, supposed to have been received by falling from a tramcar on the evening of July 24.”
Mr. Bagot was buried on 4th August in Plot 322, Path 17 South. The funeral was well attended and the service was performed by Archdeacon Farr. A large monument was erected by his many friends in recognition of his “sterling worth”.