My great great grandfather Wentworth Cavenagh (1822-1895) was a member of the South Australian Parliament, elected in 1862 to represent Yatalapart of the Adelaide metropolitan area north of the River Torrens. He served as Commissioner for Crown Lands and Immigration from 1868 to 1870 and Commissioner of Public Works from 1872 to 1873.


Portrait of Wentworth Cavenagh, member for Yatala. This is one of 36 portraits of members of the South Australian House of Assembly, 1872-1875, in a composite compiled in 1872 (Picture from State Library of South Australia reference B1288-38)
James Shaw, oil-on-canvas painting ‘South Australian Parliament; the House of Assembly‘, c. 1867. Painting in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia. I am not certain which of the parliamentarians portrayed is Wentworth Cavenagh.

Wentworth Cavenagh had arrived in South Australia in January 1853 on the Queen of Sheba. On 16 February 1865 he married Ellen Jane Mainwaring (1845-1920) at St Paul’s Church, Adelaide. They had ten children.

The Cavenagh family lived at a house called Eden Park in Marryatville two  miles from the city centre. Their oldest daughter Eva was born there in 1867. Their first child, James Gordon Cavenagh, had been born at Norwood in December 1865.

St Matthews Church is close to Eden Park. The Cavenaghs were involved in fundraising for the church. My grandmother, Kate (1874-1951), was running the bran pie (lucky dip) when she was 12. This was the beginning of a long career in fundraising for good causes.


CHURCH NEWS. (1886, December 13). The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 – 1889), p. 6. Retrieved from
St Matthew’s Church Marryatville

In 1892 Ellen Cavenagh inherited the Mainwaring estate at Whitmore in Staffordshire, and the family left South Australia for England. The house at Eden Park was sold. With it went the grounds covering 21 acres and a tennis court and stables.

Advertising (1892, March 9). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 – 1900), p. 8. Retrieved from

In 1900 the house was purchased by Thomas Roger Scarfe who pulled down most of the old home and rebuilt it. Today the house is the Year 11 and 12 centre for Marryatville High School.

Marryatville High School occupies the grounds of Eden Park
The stables are now the music centre
The house, which is not the one the Cavenagh family lived in as this was built in 1900 by the Scarfe family, is now the year 11 and 12 centre.

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