Walter Scipio Mactaggart (1886-1953)

Walter was the eldest son of Dan Mactaggart (Mactaggarts founder), brother to Eric Mactaggart. He was born in Maryborough on 5 October 1886.

He attended Brisbane Grammar School from 1900 till 1904 and was a member of the First IV Rowing Team, the Empire Cup Shooting Team and the School Cadets.

After school Walter spent several years working in a bank before entering the stock department of the growing Mactaggart’s business.

Military Service

His was a very early enlistment in the Australian Imperial Force on 21 August 1914. With regimental number 6, he joined 9th Infantry Battalion, was promoted to the rank of Sergeant a week later and sailed from Brisbane on HMAT Omrah on 24 September 1914.

His battalion was training at Mena Camp Egypt before the Gallipoli campaign when this famous photograph was taken at the Australian training ground in front of the pyramids.

Walter Mactaggart and his wallaby at Mena Camp, the Australian training ground in front of the pyramids in Egypt. Chaplain Ernest Merrington took the photograph. Mrs Meg Row of the Gold Coast said that it was a photograph of her dad who was in the Light Horse and had taken the wallaby to Egypt with his horse.

The Sunday Mail. Brisbane, 22 April 2007. Page 41

He fought in the entire Gallipoli campaign, then in France and Belgium. He received a commission on 13 December 1916 and was promoted Lieutenant. He was hospitalized in France in 1918 after being gassed at the Somme.


Walter Mactaggart rejoined the old firm Mactaggart’s after his discharge from the AIF. He was appointed a Director when the family business became a public company in the early 1920’s. He became widely known in Queensland, especially in the livestock selling industry.

Family Life

Walter had a very unfortunate run of 3 marriages over a decade.

On 12 March 1919 Lieutenant Walter Mactaggart married Edith Audrey Cowen of Redcliffe in a service at Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church conducted by the Rev Hubert Robertson. Sadly, Audrey died in May 1920 at the age of 26 years.

In March 1922, Walter married Mildred Gladys Gilles in a wedding at the Church of St Benedict, East Brisbane conducted by Rev Father O’Connor.

In May 1924, a Brisbane newspaper unexpectedly reported, “An atmosphere of gloom descended upon Brisbane society yesterday when it became known that Mrs Walter Mactaggart, the young wife of Mr WS Mactaggart of Booroodabin Avenue, Bowen Hills, had died suddenly in her sleep. The late Mrs Mactaggart, as Miss Gladys Gilles, was one of the popular members of the younger set of Brisbane.”

Saint Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was again the scene of a quiet wedding on the evening of 22 June 1927 when Mr Walter Mactaggart (eldest son of the late Mr Dan Mactaggart and Mrs Mactaggart, Hamilton) was married to Miss Alice Mary Macdonald (younger daughter of Mr and Mrs John Macdonald, Edmondstone Street, South Brisbane). The Rev Mervyn Henderson officiated.

Walter died suddenly of cerebral haemorrhage on 8 September 1953, just 1 month short of his 77th Birthday. He left behind his widow and three daughters.

His younger brother, Mr Dan Eric Mactaggart was Managing Director of Mactaggarts Primary Producers’ Co-operative Association Ltd at the time of his death. Eric had also fought in World War 1 and would pass away just 3 years later.

* Last updated 01/02/2021

Sources: St Andrews Uniting Church Heritage Project

Posted in : Primac Gurus