Born in Melbourne, Victoria (Australia) in 1910, Dalgarno was educated at Ballarat Grammar School. From 1926 to 1930 he attended National Gallery Art School in Melbourne, where he met social realists Noel Counihan and Herbert McClintock. He then attended the Academy of Art under Dattilo Rubbo from 1930 to 1932.
From 1932 to 1934 he attended East Sydney Technical College Painting & Drawing.
In 1980 he studied etching and collography at the Pratt Graphic Centre, New New York