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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Michael Joseph Cavanagh

Born: 1875; Died: 1937; Married: Ethel Harris

Michael Joseph Cavanagh was born to Patrick Cavanagh and Mary Logue of 'One Tree Hill' on 25 September 1875.

Michael grew up on 'One Tree Hill' and received some education at Ginninderra Provisional school.

Michael initially worked with his family and for Edmund Rolfe at 'Gold Creek'.

He had an accident while working for Rolfe: "An employee of Mr E Rolfe of Gold Creek met with an accident on Friday night. Michael Cavanagh was breaking in a young horse, the horse threw him and kicked him leaving him unconscious on the ground, Michael is in a rather battered condition and it is thought that some of his ribs are broken". [Queanbeyan Age 11.9.1895]

When his fathers farm at 'One Tree Hill' was sold to the Rolfes and Gillespies in the late 1890s, Michael acquired 'Eastview' on Gundaroo Road, Mulligans Flat. Michael farmed here with Patrick and Mary and siblings Ernie(Aaron), Jane and Mary, whilst brother Clarence farmed 'Strayleaf' across the road.

Patrick Cavanagh died in 1914 and Mary in 1921.

Mulligans Flat schoolteachers boarded with the Cavanagh family and Michael married in 1922 to Ethel Harris, the local Mulligans Flat schoolteacher, when he was 47 and Ethel 24.

Michael ('Mick') and Ethel farmed at 'Eastview' until his death in 1937.

"Always ready to lend a hand in anything for the benefit of the district, the late Mr. Cavanagh was a staunch worker for the Roman Catholic Church, and was actively interested in the building of St. Francis Church at Hall.

He was one of the original members of the Farmers' Union Show at Ginninderra, which was the forerunner to the F.C.T. P. and A. Association. Mr. Cavanagh was a Vice-President of the Association at the time of his death.

As a member of the F.C.T. Rural Lessees Association he took a keen interest in its functions, but was compelled to retire from the Executive on account of ill health.

Cricket and racing were other interests to claim his attention, and as a member of the Canberra Race Club and St. Patrick's Race Club he rarely missed a meeting, while on many occasions he acted as judge or starter." [Canberra Times, Monday 8 March 1937]

On Michaels death in 1937, as they had no children, Ethel was left money and bought a property in Bemboka with her brother, whilst 'Eastview' was taken over their nephew Ernest Cavanagh.

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