Australian Dictionary of Biography

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Henry Septimus Badgery (1840–1917)

by G. P. Walsh

This article was published:

Henry Septimus Badgery (1840-1917), by unknown photographer, 1890s

Henry Septimus Badgery (1840-1917), by unknown photographer, 1890s

National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an21226518

Henry Septimus Badgery (1840-1917), stock and station agent and politician, was born on 9 December 1840 at Sutton Forest, New South Wales, the fourth son of Henry Badgery, pastoralist, and his second wife Mary Ann, née Reilley; his grandfather James Badgery, a native of Devonshire, had come to New South Wales as a free immigrant in 1799 with his wife Elizabeth and settled at Bringelly. At 15 Henry left Goulburn Grammar School and worked on his father's station until 1864. In that year he took out an auctioneer's licence and set up as a stock and station agent at Sutton Forest. He prospered and later conducted the first cattle sale at the Homebush yards, where his lively auctioning won him the title, 'King of Homebush'.

In 1870 Badgery went into business with James Nixon Brunker and J. E. Wolfe, stock and station agents at Maitland. There he was active in local government and later became mayor. In June 1878 on the death of the sitting member, Stephen Scholey, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly as member for East Maitland. At the 1880 general elections he stood for the Monaro and topped the poll; and in the 1882 elections, against his express wish and in spite of his absence from the district, he was returned along with Robert Lucas Tooth. In 1885 he supported William Bede Dalley's decision to send troops to the Sudan and on 7 October was appointed secretary for public works in the short-lived Dibbs ministry; he stood for his local electorate, Camden, as minister but received only 29 per cent of the votes and was defeated. In parliament Badgery mainly confined himself to rural affairs such as the land question, livestock and the provision of abattoirs and railways; on 26 October 1883 he gave evidence to the select committee, of which he was also a member, on the Dubbo cattle sale-yards bill. He was a strong supporter of Sir Henry Parkes's Public Instruction Act in 1880 and like many others favoured restrictive legislation against the Chinese.

On his retirement from public life he devoted himself to the business of his firm, Pitt, Son & Badgery, of which he was managing director for more than thirty years; in his last six years he was also a director of Badgery Brothers. Always a strong supporter of private enterprise, he was chairman of the Manly Co-operative Steamship Ferry Co., and in 1893 engaged with the Port Jackson Steamship Co. in a fare-cutting war which ended with amalgamation; he was also president of the Taxpayers' Union founded in 1902. In his youth he had been renowned as a horseman and showrider and in later life became a vice-president of the Royal Agricultural Society. Under the pseudonym, 'Yabber Joe', he wrote exuberant verse and in May 1891 at the Moss Vale School of Arts he gave a lecture, published as Something About the Early History of Australia. He died on 23 August 1917 at his residence, Red Court, Exeter, and was buried in the Church of England cemetery at Sutton Forest.

Badgery was married three times in Sydney: in 1869 to Julia Eliza, daughter of his partner, G. M. Pitt; in 1896 to Alice May King; and in 1900 to Sybella Louisa, daughter of Augustus Hooke of Tia, Walcha. He had four sons and two daughters by the first marriage and two sons and a daughter by the third.

Select Bibliography

  • E. Digby (ed), Australian Men of Mark, vol 2 (Syd, 1889)
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 16, 22 Oct 1885, 24 Aug 1917
  • Perkins papers (National Library of Australia)
  • private information.

Additional Resources

Citation details

G. P. Walsh, 'Badgery, Henry Septimus (1840–1917)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1969, accessed online 15 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, (Melbourne University Press), 1969

View the front pages for Volume 3

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Henry Septimus Badgery (1840-1917), by unknown photographer, 1890s

Henry Septimus Badgery (1840-1917), by unknown photographer, 1890s

National Library of Australia, nla.pic-an21226518

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Yabber Joe

9 December, 1840
Sutton Forest, New South Wales, Australia


23 August, 1917 (aged 76)
Exeter, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations