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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

William David Cavanough (1834–1885)

From a Windsor paper I take the following extract:—'Dead and buried also is a wayward genius–a native of Windsor–William Cavanough, the well-known phrenologist. Mr. Cavanough had a soul above leather, and instead of dying a respectable harness maker or saddler, he died an outcast. William was the only level headed phrenologist we ever met with in Australia–and whatever, his failings may have been, he could lick all other professional bumpists into very small pieces–and that easily.' Poor old Cavanough was one of those true Bohemians who pitched his tent wherever fancy led him, and lived in the present, forgetful of the past and careless of the future. He had many old friends in and around the metropolis, for whose aid it was never necessary that he should ask–but he was of an independent turn of mind, and seldom troubled them. It is not going too far to say that though his well-known face has disappeared from human view, there are many who will for years to come, remember poor William with kindly feelings. In Adam Lindsay Gordon's "Sick Stockrider," the following' lines occur:—

For good undone and gifts misspent, and resolutions vain.
'Tis somewhat late to trouble.
This I know—
I should live the same life over if I had to live again,
And the chances are I go: where most men go,—

And I think they are applicable in every sense to the good-natured old fellow who has just gone over to the great majority.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Cavanough, William David (1834–1885)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 May 2024.

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