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Margaret Cavanough (1830–1929)

by George G. Reeve

from Windsor & Richmond Gazette

I am indeed sorry to chronicle the death in her one hundredth year of a lady who became a Mrs Cavanough by her marriage with the late Richard Cavanough (II.), who died on June 16 1876, aged 47 years. The late Mrs Margaret Cavanough, to whom I refer, was in herself a Hawkesbury pioneeress, and was withal a remarkable old lady. She was not a native, however, but a Scots woman.

Born in Edinburgh on August 6, 1828, she came to Australia with her parents at the age of 9 years. They sailed in the ship 'Lady Kelloway,' which also has a direct connection with 'Old Brown Windsor,' as that good old sailer, had been bringing emigrants to these shores for at least ten years prior to 1836. When Richard Fitzgerald (I.) of blessed memory constructed the building in George-street, near Thompson Square, Windsor, in the year 1826, now and for many year's past known as the Royal Hotel, an artist who came to live at Windsor painted on the walls of the dining room for Mr. Fitzgerald a representation drawing painting of that famous old-time sailing ship, 'Lady Kelloway.' It is quite an historic painting. In the year it was done (1827) the Royal Hotel was the palatial old colonial mansion of the Fitzgerald family. Windsor people have every reason to esteem the name of Fitzgerald, although the pioneer was an emancipist. Richard Fitzgerald, also his wife and his descendants were notable for their many benefactions to the poor folks of the Hawkesbury.

The Cavanoughs were, of course, a free family. The founder of the family came as a seaman on the flagship H.M.S. 'Sirius' in 1788, later settling at Norfolk Island, and subsequently at the 100 acres farm grant on portion of which, stands the famous old Non-conformist Chapel (now Presbyterian) of Ebenezer (1809), at Lower Wilberforce.

The foundress mother of all the Cavanoughs (nee Miss Margaret Dowling) came also as a free woman[1] on the 'Prince of Wales' (1788) First Fleeter. We always speak with pride and in admiration of the notable seaman-settler, Mr. Owen Cavanough (I.), (obit. 1841), and his descendants, for as well as being a practical old pioneer, his name will live while ever Ebenezer Chapel stands, on account of his gift of four acres of land as a site for a chapel and burial ground adjoining.

To return again to the late deceased lady, the late Mrs. Margaret Cavanough, who died in her 100th year at Botany, Sydney, on October 2nd., and who is buried alongside her husband, who was a grandson of pioneer Owen Cavanough and a son of Richard Cavanough (I.), who had married Miss Anne Cross (another famous Hawkesbury surname). The lately deceased lady, ten years after her arrival in the Windsor district, married Mr. Richard John Cavanough, eldest son of Richard Cavanough (I.) and his wife (nee Anne. Cross) and reared a family of ten children. There were eight daughters in succession and two sons. For over 35 years Mrs. Margaret Cavanough lived in the old rectory, next to St. Matthew's Church of England, at No. 30 Botany-road, Botany. Nearby also stands the large family vault mausoleum of the Simeon Lord family on which the Lord descendants, for reasons known to themselves (and others) did not dare place any inscriptions.

Mrs. Cavanough was the oldest attendant and member of the Botany Methodist Church, and during her long, and honorable life was always an active woman. After her marriage to Mr. Richard Cavanough (II.), the young couple lived for a time in the Windsor district, and subsequently on the Hawkesbury and at Parramatta, where the husband was a well-known carrier and where he also died.

Almost up to the time of her decease this grand old lady had all her faculties, and took a keen interest in her home. She regularly attended her church, and on occasions accompanied one of her daughters to the movie pictures. It was one of the old lady's proud boasts that she never knew what a head-ache was.

The deceased lady's maiden name was Miss Margaret Hardie, and her parents and kindred were settlers in the Hawkesbury district for many years preceding the days of the gold discoveries in Australia.

During August, 1926, on the occasion of her 96th birthday anniversary, she was presented with a large type testament and psalms, on behalf of the Botany Christian Endeavour Society.

Mrs. Margaret Cavanough's funeral took place at the old Methodist burial ground at the north side of the river, town of Parramatta, on October 4. She was buried alongside her husband, whose memorial stone is a carved sphinx design tombstone, just inside the wall adjoining the Ross-street side of the cemetery. The inscription on the stone reads: —

to the memory of
Died June 16, 1876.
Aged 47 years.

Our sincere condolences to the deceased lady's children, grand-children, and great-grand-children in the loss of their ancestress.

There is to be a memorial service, conducted by the Rev. M. Bembrick, in the Botany Methodist Church this Sunday, October 20, to commemorate the life's work and the sterling achievements of the late Mrs. Margaret Cavanough.

Original publication

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Additional Resources

Citation details

George G. Reeve, 'Cavanough, Margaret (1830–1929)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 17 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Hardie, Margaret

6 August, 1830
Edinburgh, Mid-Lothian, Scotland


2 October, 1929 (aged 99)
Botany, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

general debility

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

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.

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