Bowen, Sir George Ferguson
b. 1821-11-02
d. 1899-02-21
George Ferguson Bowen was born 2 November 1821 in Ireland. He was educated at Trinity College, Oxford, serving twice as the Oxford Union President and graduating by 1840. Thereafter, Bowen moved to Greece to serve as President of The University of Corfu. Bowen would be profoundly shaped by his experience on Corfu. In 1850, he wrote Ithaca, identifying the island of Ithaca as the home of Odysseus in Ancient Greece. In 1848, he spent time travelling southern and central Europe during the liberal revolutions, even witnessing the fall of Vienna.1
Bowen was made Governor of Queensland, Australia in 1859. Bowen arrived in Brisbane in December of the same year. Bowen showed considerable skill at colonial administration and politics. However, some contemporaries noted that Bowen was egotistical and often obtuse. By 1866, Bowen faced an economic crisis in Queensland, largely due to the failure of a British bank. Thus, Bowen was unable to secure loans for his administration to meet its requirements. Bowen called on his personal friend, Robert Herbert to form an administration to deal with the crisis. Economic collapse was avoided, but public opinion turned against Bowen.2
In 1867, Bowen was transferred to New Zealand. There he helped broker a peace between British settlers and the Maori. In 1873, Bowen was made Governor of Victoria, Australia. He left in 1875 to visit England, the United States and Canada. In Canada, Bowen met John A. Macdonald, and pondered the confederacy and its application to Australia. Bowen faced similar economic issues in Victoria as he had in Queensland, and was transferred to Mauritius in 1879. Bowen was transferred to Hong Kong in 1882.3
Bowen married Diamantina Roma, the daughter of the President of the Ionian Senate, in 1856. Lady Bowen played a large role in Australia in boosting the public's perception of Bowen. She was an effective entertainer and socialite. However, after her death in 1893, Bowen married Letitia Florence in 1896. Bowen returned to Europe in 1885 due to declining health, retiring from colonial service in 1887. Bowen died 21 February 1899 in Brighton, England.4
Mentions of this person in the documents
Places in this document

Victoria, Australia