Michael Cavanagh (architect)

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Michael Cavanagh
Born Michael Francis Cavanagh
August 1860
Beechworth, Victoria
Died 29 May 1941
Subiaco, Western Australia
Occupation Architect
Spouse(s) Dorothy Le Poer Trench[1]
Children Dorothea Maria (1898)
John "Jack" (1900)
Brendan (1904)
Parent(s) John Charles Cavanagh and Mary Josephine nee Lyons
Relatives son-in-law of Robert Le Poer Trench,[1]

Michael Francis Cavanagh (August 1860 – 29 May 1941) was an Australian architect, primarily known for his work in Western Australia from 1895 to the late 1930s.

Early life and education[edit]

Cavanagh was born in August 1860 near Beechworth, Victoria,[2][3] the second son of an Irish born builder and contractor, John Cavanagh[4] ( – 18 March 1895[5]). In 1881 his family moved to Adelaide, South Australia, where his father took on a position as supervisor of public buildings in the Government Architect's Department. Cavanagh in his early teens first studied at the South Australian School of Art before entering the Government Architecture's Department, where he received architectural training (c.1882-1886).[3] In 1887 he left to study architecture in London, in the studio-offices of John Slater, and then with Frank Baggallay and Walter Millard,[3] before entering the National Art Training School.[4] In 1888 Cavanagh passed examinations obtaining an associateship with the Royal Institute of British Architects. He was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society for his studies in ancient and modern architecture and art.

He returned to South Australia and rejoined the Government Architect's Department, eventually reaching the position of Chief Draughtsman.[3][4] In 1891 he established his own private practice,[3] where he designed a number of buildings in Adelaide, Peterborough and Port Pirie, including the Barrier Hotel in Port Pirie. Cavanagh served on the board of the Art Gallery, Museum and Library[6] and was a member of the South Australian Society of Arts.[4] He was also a councillor at the Adelaide City Council, the president of the South Australia Institute of Architects and a founding member of the South Australian branch of the Australian Natives' Association and the Wattle Day League.[7]

Western Australia works[edit]

The expansion of St Mary's Cathedral in 1929
The apse and transept of the 1930 portion of St Mary's Cathedral

In 1895 he moved to Western Australia,[3] with the objective of establishing a branch of his firm in Perth.[4][8] In 1896 he designed the Great Western Hotel, a three storey brick, stucco and iron roof hotel, on the corner of James and William Streets, Northbridge. Cavanagh designed the hotel in the Federation Filigree architectural style and it was one of the most lavish hotels constructed in Perth during the Western Australian gold boom.[9]

On 11 May 1897 he married Dorothy Le Poer Trench,[3] the third daughter of Hon. Judge Robert Le Poer Trench, Q.C., a County Court Judge of Ballarat, at St Mary's Cathedral, Perth.[10][11]

In 1898 the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate commissioned Cavanagh to design a new church on the site of a former Benedictine church in Fremantle.[12][13] The church is an imposing limestone building in the Federation Gothic style with decorated Gothic detailing.[13] St. Patrick's Basilica was consecrated in June 1900, with numerous dignitaries, including Sir John Forrest, in attendance.[13] It is one of five churches in Australia with minor basilica status.[14]

In 1900 he was joined by his younger brother, James Charles, who became a partner in the architectural practice, Cavanagh and Cavanagh. The firm had a long association with the Catholic Church, designing a number of hospitals, schools and churches.

In 1924 the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Perth, Patrick Clune, commenced an appeal to fund the construction of a larger cathedral, to replace the original 1865 building (which was a simple two storey Norman Gothic style building), in his own words "building a Cathedral worthy of Almighty God, of the Archdiocese and of the City of Perth".[15] Cavanagh was appointed architect for the project[16] and he produced plans for a completely new limestone Academic Gothic Cathedral.[17] Due to financial constraints, associated with the onset of the Great Depression, it was decided to utilise the existing building, which subsequently became the nave, and add only new transepts and a sanctuary.[18] The expanded, but incomplete, St Mary's Cathedral opened on 4 May 1930.

Cavanagh died at a private hospital in Subiaco on 29 May 1941, following a two-month illness, and was buried in the Roman Catholic portion of Karrakatta Cemetery.[19]

Achievements[edit]

Cavanagh was the inaugural vice-president of the Western Australian Institute of Architects in 1896 and the Institute's president between 1903–05 and 1915-17.[3] (The WA Institute merged with other states' institutes in 1930 to form the Australian Institute of Architects.)

At the 1897 colonial election Cavanagh unsuccessfully ran as an independent candidate for the seat of North Perth.[20]

In November 1900 he was elected as the West Ward Councillor for the City of Perth.[4][21]

In the 1901 federal election he ran as the Protectionist Party candidate in the newly created Perth electorate. He obtained 40.9% of the vote, losing to the Labour candidate, James Fowler.

He was also a member of the Fire Brigade's Board and the Perth Hospital Board.

Notable works[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Family Notices". The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954). Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 25 May 1897. p. 4. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "Mr. M. F. Cavanagh Dead". Perth Gazette. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 30 May 1941. p. 8. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Taylor, Dr. John J. (April 2011). "Michael Francis Cavanagh" (PDF). AIA. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Erickson, Dr. Dorothy (2011). "Michael F. Cavanagh". Design and Art Australia Online. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Late Mr J. Cavanagh". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 20 March 1895. p. 6. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  6. ^ "Government Gazette". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 18 November 1892. p. 6. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "Obituary". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 6 June 1941. p. 12. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "News And Notes". Perth Gazette. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 17 April 1895. p. 4. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "Great Western Hotel". Register of Heritage Places - Assessment Documentation. HCWA. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Family Notices". Perth Gazette. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 25 May 1897. p. 4. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Woman's Column". The Catholic Weekly. Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia. 12 June 1897. p. 16. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "St. Patrick's Day". Perth Gazette. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 17 March 1898. p. 6. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c "St Patrick's Basilica". Register of Heritage Places - Assessment Documentation. HCWA. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  14. ^ "Basilicas in Australia and Other Islands". GCatholic.org. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "The History of St Mary's Cathedral". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "No title". The Daily News. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 23 April 1926. p. 9 Edition: Home (Final) Edition. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  17. ^ "The New Cathedral". Western Mail. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 29 April 1926. p. 22. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  18. ^ "St Mary's Cathedral". Register of Heritage Places - Assessment Documentation. HCWA. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Family Notices". Perth Gazette. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 4 June 1941. p. 5. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "Parliamentary Elections". The Advertiser. Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia. 6 May 1897. p. 5. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "Perth City Council". Western Mail. Perth, WA: National Library of Australia. 1 December 1900. p. 59. Retrieved 13 January 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Matters, Leonard W., (Mrs.), Australasians Who Count in London and Who Counts in Western Australia, London, J. Truscott, 1913. Held at Battye Library, Perth
  • Kelly, Ian Phillip (1991), The Development of Housing in Perth (1890–1915), Thesis presented for the degree of Master of Architecture, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA
  • McKenzine, Jane (1992), Michael Cavanagh F.R.I.B.A., Western Australian Architect 1860-1941: His Life, His Philosophies and His Architecture

External links[edit]

Media related to Michael Cavanagh at Wikimedia Commons