My great-grandparents, Owen Kavanagh and Catherine Featherstone, were early pioneers of Iona.
| Owen Kavanagh with grand-daughter Eileen Kavanagh, 1920s |
After all the hard work of digging the Main Drain and clearing the land, a real community began to grow. “The Pioneers of Koo-Wee-Rup East Iona Group (1892 to 1919)” was formed to proudly celebrate their achievements. Owen was the president in 1924.
The area the Pioneers cleared was always referred to as the Swamp. The settlers decided it was time for a more meaningful name. In 1901, they conducted a ballot and Iona was chosen. The name was inspired by the island of Iona off Scotland.
There was a bank and a post office. Or maybe the bank was in Bunyip?
Here’s the bank which had become our playhouse in the 1960s. Maybe this is the reason I find it hard to take money seriously!
| Iona Bank as derelict Playhouse, 2004 |
Owen and Catherine Kavanagh seemed like a nice couple so I was happy to see this expressive footstone on their burial plot at the Bunyip Cemetery.
| Owen Kavanagh, born 1855, died 1934, Catherine Featherstone, born 1864, died 1943 |