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Rediscovering Ginninderra:
Clarence Bede Cavanagh

Born: 1874; Died: 1933; Married: Esther Ann Smith

Clarence Bede Cavanagh was born in February 1874, to Patrick Cavanagh and Mary (Logue) Cavanagh, at their farm at 'One Tree Hill'.

Clarence grew up on 'One Tree Hill' and was educated at the Ginninderra Provisional School and later attended Agricultural College

Clarence worked as the stud groom for Edward Kendall Crace while Esther Smith worked in the household for Mrs Crace.

In 1904 Clarence married Esther Anne Smith of Weetangera, at St Gregory's Church, Queanbeyan. Esther was born in April 1881 to Mathew and Eliza (Plummer) Smith of Weetangera.

In the late 1890s, Clarence acquired Strayleaf, Gundaroo Road, Mulligans Flat, which according to his daughter, he purchased from E Crace. John Butler was the first person known to occupy Strayleaf, but it is unknown whether he built it. They also incorporated some Crinigan Stone Hut paddocks that he acquired through his grand-mother – Margaret(Logue) Crinigan.

Clarence and Esther had six children at Strayleaf:

The children attended Mulligans Flat school.

Clarence and his brothers, Michael and Ernie, were active member of the Ginninderra Farmers Union and Show and Ball committees.

Clarence was a successful farmer and his daughters remembers that he owned a T model Ford, then a 1929 Essex, holding ACT license number 41 and car registration 38.

Daughter Annie recalled:
My father once a year drove a horse and dray load of wheat to Yass from Strayleaf and returned with wheat ground into flour, bran and pollard.
We made our own bread in a brick oven constructed outside to hold approximately 1 dozen loaves
Wool was taken by horse and dray from Mulligans Flat to Queanbeyan railway Station.

Strayleaf was resumed for the new Capital Territory and Clarence leased back the property, recorded as Hall Block 10 (aka Gunghalin Block 20) of 1,066 acres.

Clarence died in February 1933 in Canberra from complications of hydatids on the lungs and is buried in the Queanbeyan Riverside Cemetery.

Esther took over the lease to the properties and continued to work them with Clarence's brothers and their son Jack, until she retired into Canberra in 1965. Esther died in April 1973 in Canberra and is buried in the Woden Catholic cemetery.

John Cavanagh and his wife Joyce and family took over the leases for 'Strayleaf' around 1965 and farmed there until the properties were resumed around 1994.

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