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Wentworth Cavenagh-Mainwaring (1822–1895)

Mr. J. G. Cavenagh-Mainwaring, solicitor, of Adelaide, has received a cable message stating that his father, the Hon. Wentworth Cavenagh-Mainwaring, once member of Parliament for Yatala, has died in England. The deceased gentleman, who was best known in Adelaide as Mr. Wentwoxth Cavanagh, was born at Hythe in 1821, and arrived in this colony before he was 30 years old. He was first elected to the Assembly as member for Yatala on November 17,1862, his colleague being the late Hon. Lavington Glyde. He sat uninterruptedly until his resignation on May 1875, but he was re-elected 11 days later. In April, 1881, however, he was defeated by Mr. David Murray, against whose return he successfully petitioned. He did not stand again, and his place was taken by the late Mr. J. H. Bagster. Mr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring was first appointed to Cabinet office in 1868 and during his political career he served 1,079 days as Minister of the Crown, his colleagues during that period being Sir H. Ayers, the late Messrs. Bagot and Barrow, Sir John Colton, Mr. K. A. Hamilton, the late Mr. H. Kent Hughes, Mr. Krichauff, the late Mr. Reynolds, Mr. H. B. T. Strangways, Mr. Augustine Stow, and the late Mr. Stevenson. His first Premier was Mr. Strangways, with whom he held office as Commissioner of Crown Lands and Immigration from November 3, 1868, to May 30, 1870; he sat in the Ministry of Sir Henry Ayers as Commissioner of Public Works from March 4, 1872 to July 22, 1873. He thus became entitled to the prefix of "Honorable." Although prominent in politics until his retirement eight years later he did not subsequently acquire a seat on the Treasury benches.

Mr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring married a daughter of the late Sir. Gordon Mainwaring, who for some years lived in Adelaide, and on the death of his wife's brother, which occurred in 1891, he assumed the surname of Mainwaring in addition to his own. Shortly afterwards he returned to England to take up his residence at Whitmore Hall, in Staffordshire, a valuable estate to which his wife had succeeded. Recently he had been very ill, and he travelled to Switzerland to seek a milder climate than that of England, for the rigors of which long residence in South Australia had unfitted him. His death, considering his advanced age, was therefore, not unexpected. Mr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring was, previous to his election to Parliament, engaged in farming pursuits near Salisbury, and afterwards, in conjunction with Mr. J. J. Benham, he conducted a wheatbuying and and agency business. The services rendered by him to the district which he represented in the Assembly for 20 consecutive years are still remembered with gratitude, and his old political associates speak of him as a man always thoroughly conscientious and highminded. He leaves a widow and two sons, Mr. James Gordon Cavenagh-Mainwaring and Dr. Wentworth Cavenagh-Mainwaring, late House Surgeon at Adelaide Hospital. The former, it is expected, will on his mother's death succeed to the family estate, which is reported to be worth £5,000 yearly.

Original publication

Citation details

'Cavenagh-Mainwaring, Wentworth (1822–1895)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Hythe, Kent, England


January, 1895 (aged ~ 73)

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.