Portrait of Wentworth Cavenagh, Commissioner of Public Works of South Australia from 4 March 1872 to 22 July 1873 from the State Library of South Australia

Browsing the National Library of Australia’s ‘Trove’ digitised newspaper collection recently, I came across a shipping departure notice which gives a succinct family history of my Cavenagh and Mainwaring great great and great great great grandparents. The Cavenagh-Mainwaring family were about to sail for England on the Ballaarat.

The Ballaarat was a P & O ship of 4752 tons built in 1882, designed for service between the United Kingdom and Australia. The P&O history site remarks that “Her dining saloon was considered particularly fine, and patent iron beds replaced bunks for her first class passengers.”

Ballaarat – 1882 Greenock retrieved from http://www.findboatpics.com.au/sppo2.html


Latest News. (1892, April 27). Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 – 1912), p. 2 Edition: SECOND EDITION. Retrieved  from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article204477375

Lots of information to follow up and facts to check.

Until I came across this information I did not know that James Gordon Cavenagh, my great great great grandfather, an army surgeon with the Royal Staff Corps, was at Waterloo. He is listed on page 20 in the list of officers as a surgeon in the Royal Staff Corps in John Booth’s 1816 book of The Battle of Waterloo. He is also listed in The Bloody Fields of Waterloo: Medical Support at Wellington’s Greatest Battle by Michael Crumplin published in 2013.

I also didn’t know very much about his son, my great great grandfather, Wentworth Cavenagh. It appears that he was educated at Ferns Diocesan School in Wexford, Ireland. When he was 18 years old he went to Canada, Ceylon, and Calcutta and from there to the Bendigo diggings.