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Frederic Charles Rowan

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Captain Frederic Charles Rowan (1844-1892)


1893 Obituary [1]

CAPTAINF REDERIC CHARLES ROWAN, retired, was born at Antrim on the 28th of August, 1844.

After spending his early life in Canada, where his father was engaged as Engineer to the first line of railway constructed in the Dominion, he was sent to Switzerland to be educated at Lausanne. His uncle, the late Field-Marshal Sir William Rowan, (desiring that the youth should enter the army), he was then sent to Woolwich.

In 1863 he joined the 59th Regiment at Aldershot for a course of surveying and field sketching and in the following year was appointed to the 43rd Light Infantry, which was shortly afterwards ordered to New Zealand to repress a native outbreak. After some little fighting the Maories were temporarily subdued, when Lieutenant Rowan resigned his commission and joined the New Zealand Armed Constabulary.

During the war which followed the escape from Chatham Island of the native chief, Te Rooti, he served with distinction and gained his captaincy. He was noted for cool and determined bravery, and on one occasion was severely wounded while carrying a brother officer off the field, by a bullet which shattered his left jaw, cut through the muscles of the tongue and passed out at the right side of the neck. Under the treatment of a skilful surgeon, who made him a gold jaw, he subsequently suffered but little discomfort.

In 1877 Captain Rowan migrated to Victoria, commenced to practise in Melbourne as a Civil Engineer, and subsequently became Manager of the Australasian Electric Light, Power and Storage Company and also Managing Director of the Australian Electric Company.

When in 1889 the Brush Electrical Engineering Company of London took over the business of the Australasian Electric Light, Power and Storage Company, Captain Rowan was retained as General Manager and representative.

During a railway journey from Sydney to Melbourne he caught a severe cold which resulted in an attack of acute pneumonia. All efforts to subdue the disease were unavailing and he died at Melbourne on the 11th of December, 1892, at the age of forty-eight.

Captain Rowan was well known as a shrewd and energetic man of business and as strictly upright and honourable in all his dealings. His genial manner and striking physique made him popular with a large circle of friends both in Melbourne and Sydney, in each of which capitals he was equally at home.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 2nd of December, 1884.


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