Last of the Thagoona Golden Girls – Mary Kavanagh


Motion moved by Cr Pahlke at Full Council Meeting 08/11/2016.

A very real link with our RURAL HISTORICAL PAST was laid to rest recently at Glamorganvale. The last of the 4 sisters known so affectionately as the Thagoona Golden Girls passed away. The four sisters were Margaret/Kathleen/Cecilia/Mary.

Mary was born on the 10th of January, 1916 at Ipswich Private Hospital; the youngest child of Stephen Kavanagh and Catherine O’Shea. She was a sibling to Margaret, Kathleen, Francis Cecilia and a brother (who was still born). At this time, the family lived at Lake Clarendon. In the early 1920s, Mr Kavanagh bought the grocery store and post office in Glenore Grove, and moved into a house close to the shop. In 1922, Mary began her formal schooling at Glenore Grove State School.

There she remained until 1926 when the family moved to Thagoona, so Catherine could care for her father. It was at that time Mary commenced school here at St Brigid’s Convent. She recalled it being during school sports’ time and she, the newcomer, won all the races. This was perhaps the beginning of her sporting life.

In 1928, she began her eighteen-month scholarship at St Mary’s in Ipswich where she boarded. Mary achieved a number of accolades as a sportsperson. She was a keen horsewoman. As a golfer, she won the ‘Rose Bowl’ at Gailes Golf Club representing Ipswich Golf Club. Mary played inter-club sports at Laidley and showed great skills as a tennis player.

Mary also loved dancing and was a regularly at the Marburg dance and the Rosewood Show Balls.  Another side of her life was her love of dedication to her family.  Bill O’Connell came to the farm at the age of 17 and later married Margaret. Mary spent countless hours with him chasing the cattle helping on the farm. Later, Mary cared for her parents. Mr Kavanagh died on 21st of June, 1960 after suffering a stroke and then she nursed her mother for twelve years after, she also had a stroke. Mrs Kavanagh passed away on 7th February, 1974.

As most of you would know, Mary’s faith was central to her life.  Mary was baptised in Ipswich, made her First Communion at Glenore Grove and was confirmed here in St Brigid’s where she also became a child of Mary.  St Brigid’s Church has been a cornerstone in the life of Mary and her family.  Mary’s personal contributions include being a Eucharisitc minister, cleaning the church, polishing the vessels, holding mass at home and inviting parishioners to her home for Rosary. She never missed the Rosary,  going to mass, or saying the Novena. Mary Dutifully attended these right up to July 2016

Rosewood has lost something very endearing with the passing of Mary – Mary was loved by many and was rarely without a visitor, during her final years at Cabanda Hostel Rosewood.








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