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Biographical entry Bage, Edward Frederick Robert (1888 - 1915)

17 April 1888
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
7 May 1915
Dardanelles, Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey
Antarctic explorer, Antarctic researcher, Civil engineer and Military engineer
Alternative Names
  • Bage, Robert


Lieutenant Robert Bage was a member of Sir Douglas Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition 1911-1913, as astronomer, assistant magnetician, and recorder of tides. Bage was the leader of the successful hazardous southern sledging exploration through Adelie Land, towards the South Magnetic Pole. After Mawson's expedition failed to return by the appointed time, Bage volunteered to stay a second winter. On return to Australia, Bage rejoined the Royal Australian Engineers, and on the outbreak of the First World War, volunteered for active service. Promoted to Captain, he was second-in-charge, 3rd Field Company, Australian Infantry Forces at Gallipoli, when he was killed in action. He is memorialised by the Robert Bage Memorial Scholarship for higher degree engineering students, awarded by the School of Engineering, University of Melbourne.


In 1911, on leave of absence without pay from the Royal Australian Engineers, Lieutenant Bage joined the Australian Antarctic Expedition under Sir Douglas Mawson - as astronomer, assistant magnetician, 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 forming the relief party that was left in the Antarctic for a second winter, when Sir Douglas and his ill-fated companions failed to return to winter quarters at the appointed time.

Lieutenant Bage was leader of the southern sledging party, which accomplished a perilous journey of 600 miles, man-hauling their sledge over the rough blizzard-swept ice surfaces.

He was awarded the King's Polar Medal in 1916.

On his return from the Antarctic Lieutenant Bage was attached to the Engineers' Staff Office, Melbourne, and when mobilisation was ordered in August 1914, he took up duty at Port Phillip Heads.

When the first 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.

He was killed at Gallipoli on May 7th, 1915.


Career event - Second Lieutenant, Corp of Australian Engineers, Queensland
Education - Bachelor of Civil Engineering (BCE), University of Melbourne
Career position - Submarine Mining Station, Chowdar Bay, Sydney
Career position - Officer-in-charge, Submarine Mining Station, RAE, Swan Island, Victoria
1 February 1911
Career event - Lieutenant, Royal Australian Engineers
December 1911 - December 1913
Career position - Member, Australasian Antarctic Expedition, under Sir Douglas Mawson
25 August 1914
Career event - Lieutenant, 3rd Field Company Engineers, First Division, Australian Imperial Force
18 October 1914
Career event - Captain, Second-in-charge, 3rd Field Company Engineers, First Division, Australian Imperial Force
February 1915
Award - King's Polar Medal
6 May 1915
Award - Special Mention for acts of conspicuous Gallantry or valuable service


Published resources


  • Mawson, Douglas, The Home of the Blizzard: the Story of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914 (Kent Town, SA: Wakefield Press, 1996), 534 pp. Contributed the Book Chapter "The Quest for the Southern Magnetic Pole". Details


Ken McInnes