James and Charlotte Louisa Cavanagh arrived in Esperance from Norseman after coming to Australia from Belfast Ireland. They arrived in Melbourne in 1851 and arrived in Western Australia in 1874.

One of their sons, Gordon, was born in Kilkenny, another in Broken Hill and another in Ken town South Australia. A sister was born in Esperance and they attended school, the family remained in Esperance despite the downturn.

According to some early notes from Gordon Cavanagh, he remembered playing near Tommy Windich’s grave, a lot of people thought it had been shifted but it hadn’t. In those day he recites it was (The beach) 2 chains of sand in front of it then another 3 or 4 chains after that he states. Well you couldn’t dig a grave on the beach, which stands to reason, the water would just run in.

When he was 10 year of age, he went away droving sheep for Brooks’s from Balbinia Station. He states – they came in 1874 and he had his 11th birthday sitting on a rock they called Mt Everest (probably Mt Ragged).

They came from Israelite Bay where he picked them up, back to Esperance and on to Norseman, then from Norseman to Southern Fields, leave some sheep and back to Balbinia all on foot making 8 miles a day average. Gordon worked there for three years they (Brooks) thought he should be sent home to go to school that was in 1906. In 1909 he didn’t get much schooling and the next thing he was off with a mob of horses over to Katanning. When he returned he worked for the Daws.

Gordon James Cavanagh enlisted on the 13th January 1915 at the age of 19 years six months. He served with the 10th Light Horse Regiment, and the 10th Field Artillery Brigade, and on November 20, 1917 he was awarded the Military Medal: for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty.

Gordon Cavanagh returned to Australia but return to Esperance to live. He continued on the land farming in Merredin and later in Cuballing until his retirement. He died in 1978 in Perth.

His brother Robert (Bob) also enlisted; he was killed in action and remains one of Esperance sons “Heroic Dead”.



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