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Bage, Edward Frederick Robert (1888–1915)

Edward Bage, by Frank Hurley, 1914

Edward Bage, by Frank Hurley, 1914

State Library of New South Wales, 36089

Capt. Edward Frederick Robert Bage, 3rd Field Company Engineers, whose death is reported from wounds, was the only son of the late Mr. Edward Bage, merchant, of Melbourne and Cranford, Fulton street, east St. Kilda. He was born on April 17, 1888, and entered the Church of England Grammar School, Melbourne, in 1900, where he obtained the Witherby Scholarship in 1901. He left the grammar school in 1904 with first class honours in physics at matriculation, and a Warden's Scholarship to Trinity College, where he went into residence during his university course. He obtained first-class honours in chemistry and exhibition in surveying in 1905, and completed the civil engineering course in 1909, taking the degree of Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 1910. During his studentship he was honorary Secretary of the students' representative council at an early stage of its existence, and constantly took a full share in the social side of university life. He rowed in his college eight. Capt. Bage began his military career in 1909 as second lieutenant in the Corps of Australian Engineers, Queensland, and was transferred to the Royal Australian Engineers, with the rank of lieutenant, in 1911, after having served some time at the submarine mining station, Chowder Bay, Sydney. On transfer to the R.A.E. he was stationed at the submarine mining station, in Swan Island, Victoria, and was for some time in command. In 1911, he obtained leave of absence, without pay, and joined the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, under Sir Douglas Mawson, as astronomer, assistant magneticion and recorder of tides. His absence with the expedition extended over a period of two years and three months, as he was one of the six volunteers who formed the relief party that was left in the Antarctic for a second winter when Sir Douglas and his ill fated companions had failed to return to winter quarters at the appointed time. Capt. Bage was leader of the southern sledging party, which accomplished a perilous journey of 600 miles, man-hauling their sledge over rough blizzard swept ice surfaces. He afterwards contributed the chapter entitled 'The Quest of the Southern Magnetic Pole' to Sir Douglas Mawson's book The Home of the Blizzards. The very important scientific result of this journey are still being worked out and prepared for publication. He was to have received the polar medal, lately awarded by H.M. the King. On his return from the Antarctic Capt. Bage was attached to the Engineers' Staff Office, Melbourne, and on mobilization being ordered in August last, he took up duty at Port Phillip Heads. When the 1st Australian Division for service abroad was formed he volunteered for active service and was appointed second in command of the 3rd Field Company (Engineers), with the rank of captain. Deceased was very popular among both officers and men and many were the expressions of regret when the news was received at Victoria Barracks that he had fallen. He was an indefatigable worker, a thorough and efficient organizer, and one of the most promising of the younger officers of the permanent forces.

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'Bage, Edward Frederick Robert (1888–1915)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/bage-edward-frederick-robert-15674/text26872, accessed 22 October 2014.

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