Press to Show/Hide Menu

Robert Murray KAVANAUGH, GC

No. & Rank at the Time of Action: Mr

Unit/Occupation: Civilian, Dental Student (later Royal Australian Air Force, No. 261881)

Date and Place of Birth: 18th December 1906, Wingham, New South Wales, Australia

Family: Husband of Mrs Mary Kavanaugh. Father of Pat, Lynette, Shane and Michael

Early Life:

Date and Place of GC Action: 12th January 1929, Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW, Australia

The London Gazette: 16th October 1930


Account of Deed: On the evening of 12th January 1929, a boy of 14, Colin Stewart, was bathing at Bondi Beach, New South Wales, some 50 yards from the shore when he was attacked by a shark and was seriously injured on his right side and hip. Mr. Kavanaugh of Darlinghurst, New South Wales, who was bathing a few yards from the boy, without hesitation swam to his aid and had almost reached him when the shark made a second attack on the boy. Undeterred by the danger to himself, Mr. Kavanaugh caught hold of the injured lad and struggled with him towards the shore. He had gone a considerable distance when he was met by two other men and together they carried the boy to the beach where he was given medical attention before being taken to hospital, where he died the next morning.

Remarks: AM - GC exchange

Additional Information: Served with the Royal Australian Air Force in WWII as a Dental Officer. Kavanaugh was discharged from the RAAF on 9th June 1945 with the rank of Squadron Leader. His final posting was at the RAAF Station, Bradfield Park. See his entry in Oakes, Gerard, 'Robert Murray Kavanaugh (1906-1976), Dentist', in John Ritchie (ed), Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 14, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1996, pp. 600-601

Final Rank:

Other Decorations/Medals:

GC Location/Sale History:

Date and Place of Death: 12th September 1976 in Glebe, Sydney, New South Wales

Cause of Death:



Memorials: GC Memorial in Canberra. Source: Michael Southwell-Keely

Town/County Connections: