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Mary Ann Cavanough (1835–1923)

The death of Mrs. Mary Cavanough, which occurred at the residence of her grand daughter, Mrs. Leo. Sapsford, at Coorparoo on Christmas Day, removes from earthly life one of St. George's oldest residents. The deceased old lady, who was popularly known as "Grandma" celebrated her 88th birthday in June last, when she was the recipient of numerous congratulatory messages from a large circle of friends. Like many other early day wanderers on the Balonne, the deceased lady was born on the Hawksbury river, and was the third generation of an Australian family. She came to this district some 60 years ago with her husband the late James Cavanough, who established a general store business, which is still under the firm name, and later became interested in pastoral life, owning holdings on the Maranoa and Moonie. Naturally many changes have taken place since Mrs. Cavanough first arrived on the Balonne. Travelling those days was by means of dray or waggon, the journey necessitating months through an almost trackless area with great distances between habitations, pioneers under-going hardships in their travelling and settlement of a new land not known to the present generation. When Mrs Cavanough first settled in St. George, the nearest town of any importance was Tamworth, and the means of communication a periodical horse mail. So having lived such a long time in St. George, the deceased old lady was naturally able to note the various changes that occurred during the passing years, when horses were entirely relied upon for transit purposes up to the present rapid means of locomotion. She also saw death claim many of her contemporaries who helped to pioneer the south-west, when settlement was young and like the far north now, scarcely a fence for a hundred miles. Nevertheless the period in which the pioneers lived and worked was a grand one, and teems with happy memories for those who still remain. The deceased lady was widely and affectionately known by all classes, and being possessed of remarkable energy on many occasions, even during recent years, she has been an energetic organiser and worker on behalf of local institutions. Recently mature years began to affect the old lady's health, and a few months ago was seriously ill, but being possessed of remarkable vitality and fond of travel she recovered sufficiently to leave early in December last for her annual visit to see her relatives and friends, it was while there that she suddenly but peacefully passed away. The late Mrs. Cavanough was predeceased by her husband about 23 years ago, and she also suffered misfortune in the loss of her two sons — John Wallace and William Edward. She leaves two daughters — Mrs Rodney Boyce (who is in London) and Mrs. J. G. Portus, as well as a number of grand children and great grand children. The funeral moved to Toowong cemetery on Wednesday, 26th December, and thus passed away a grand old lady who will be greatly missed by a large number of friends.

Original publication

Citation details

'Cavanough, Mary Ann (1835–1923)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 22 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Dunstan, Mary Ann

9 June, 1835
Wilberforce, New South Wales, Australia


25 December, 1923 (aged 88)
Coorparoo, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

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.