Walter McDonald Hipgrave was born in Dover, Kent, England abt. 1860, the youngest son to George Boulton Hipgrave (born 1818) and Elizabeth Reader (born 1815). He ran away to the sea when he was young. He sailed on a ship called the Dharwar. At the age of 28 he became a Sea Captain. He eventually became a Master Mariner and for the last 22 years of his working life he was a Port Phillip Pilot. On the 21st October 1891 he married Elise Valentina Clarke in Williamstown, Victoria, Australia. He died in 1928 in Elsternwick, Melbourne, Australia.