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Wentworth Rowland Mainwaring (1869–1933)

One of Australia's most able war surgeons. Dr. W. R. [Wentworth Rowland] Cavenagh-Mainwaring, died yesterday at Palmer place, North Adelaide. He was 64 and a bachelor. For about 25 years he was associated with the Adelaide Hospital, and from 1900, until he retired through ill-health about three years ago, had a practice on North terrace. He was one of the most distinguished of the many accomplished old boys of St Peter's College.

Conscientious skill and courage made Dr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring’s war record one of many successes. He enlisted 15 days after the declaration of war and finished his military work in 1919, being one of the few South Australian doctors to go through the whole of the campaign. While on duty he worked untiringly. No situation was too dangerous for him to tackle, and he became so attached to the 3rd Light Horse that he let chances of promotion pass so that he could remain with that unit. At one stage, when he was in hospital with an injured knee, he obtained transport to Cairo in a hospital ship, joined his regiment and went with it on an expedition as a passenger in a transport cart.

When he left South Australia on October 3, 1914, he was regimental medical officer to the 3rd Light Horse, a position he held until October, 1916. With this unit he reached Gallipoli in May, 1915, a few weeks after the landing, and remained until the evacuation. Late in 1916 he became attached to the 2nd Stationary Hospital in Egypt, which was in close touch with fighting at Magdaba and Rafa, and later moved to El Arish, where almost all of the casualties from the first two battles of Gaza were dealt with. From El Arish the 2nd Stationary Hospital was transferred to Moascar, and Dr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring went to the 14th General Hospital, first at Abassia and later at Port Said. In 1918 he returned to South Australia, but after a short leave returned to Egypt.

For his work during the Gaza fighting he was mentioned in dispatches. He was also awarded the Order of the White Eagle, a decoration given by Serbia for good work in the common cause to specially chosen men in the service or the Allies. He left Australia with the rank of captain-surgeon, and returned as major-surgeon.

Dr. Cavenagh-Mainwaring's academic career was successful from the time he entered St. Peter's College until he earned the degree of F.R.C.S. He won many scholarships at St. Peter's, and passed at the first attempt every examination for which he sat, whether at college or university. His medical studies were begun at the University of Adelaide and finished in London.

He was a son of the late Mr. Wentworth Cavenagh-Manwaring and Mrs. Cavenagh-Mainwaring, and was born at "Eden Park." Marryatville. Whitmore Hall, Staffordshire, England, was the property of his parents. It is now held by a brother, Mr. J. G. Cavenagh-Mainwaring. Mrs. A. M. Cudmore, wife of Dr. A. M. Cudmore, of North Adelaide, is a sister.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Mainwaring, Wentworth Rowland (1869–1933)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


26 September, 1869
Marryatville, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia


27 June, 1933 (aged 63)
North Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

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