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Robert George Bowen (1804–1869)

Our obituary records the death of Mr. Robert George Bowen, which took place suddenly on Wednesday morning, November 17. He had been in his usual health during Tuesday, when shortly after taking tea, he was seized with a fit of apoplexy, which terminated fatally a few minutes after 12 o'clock, notwithstanding the efforts of Drs. Mayo and Phillips, who were almost immediately in attendance on the first symptoms manifesting themselves. Mr. Bowen was well known among the early colonists, having arrived here in 1839. He at once started in business as a builder in Hanson-street, and one of his first works was the erection of the Company's Mill at Hackney, on the banks of the Torrens, which is now in the occupation of Mr. Stevens. The South Australian Bank on North-terrace is also one among other of the oldest buildings in the city which remain as monuments of his handicraft, also the Supreme Court House in Victoria-square, the massive and substantial structure of which will render it for many years to come a prominent feature in the architecture of the metropolis. Two years subsequent to the completion of this contract, Mr. Bowen paid a visit to England, having disposed of his business which was then carried on in Waymouth street, to Messrs. English & Brown. On returning to the colony he withdrew from active business with the exception of a few years, during which he occupied the premises now used by Mr. Darling, which he built as barracks for the use of the Government. He had acquired a considerable amount of city property, and only lately had been erecting several cottage residences of a superior class on his ground. The deceased leaves behind him a large family, several of whom are established in business in the colony, he was one of the earliest and most steadfast supporters of the first Congregational Church in the colony, having been for nearly 20 years a deacon under the late Rev. T. Q. Stow, at Freeman-street, and his successor. Though taking no prominent position in public matters, beyond serving for two years—in 1863 and 1864—as a member of the City Council, he was well known as a man of thorough integrity and uprightness of character. He was a consistent supporter by his purse as well as his personal assistance of many religious and charitable Societies, and movements in connection with not only the Congregational but other denominations, by whom his removal will be sincerely regretted. The funeral took place on Thursday afternoon at West-terrace Cemetery, and was largely attended, the number present testifying to the feeling of respect entertained toward the deceased. A portion of the funeral service was conducted at the house by the Rev. F. W. Cox, Mr. Bowen having been a member of his Church for the last four or five years, and the hearse was then followed to the Cemetery by three mourning coaches, containing his sons Messrs. Charles, Robert, Henry, Thomas St., and Alfred Bowen, Hon. T. Reynolds, and Messrs. W. C. Buik. G. Scrymgour, and S. Whitmore (deacons of Hindmarsh Square Congregational Church), and others, a long line of about 30 private vehicles forming the procession. Around the grave, in addition to the above, were the Revs. H. Cheetham, M. H. Hodge, James Way, S. Mead, G. Prince, and H. Fenton, and a number of leading colonists and men of business in the city. The deceased having been a member of the Board of Directors of the South Australian Insurance Company, the offices of the Company were closed during the afternoon, and the Directors were present at the ceremony. The burial service was read by the Rev. Mr. Cox, and prayer having been offered by the Rev. S. Mead, the coffin was lowered into the family vault.

Original publication

Citation details

'Bowen, Robert George (1804–1869)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 13 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


Great Torrington, Devon, England


17 November, 1869 (aged ~ 65)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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