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15 January 1915 John Dowie


5 January 1915     John Dowie

Artist and sculptor, John Dowie, was born on 15 January 1915. Many of his works grace Adelaide's parks and gardens: the bronze figure of Pan in Veale Gardens, Alice in Rymill Gardens, as well as busts of Lord Florey, Sir Thomas Playford, Sir Mellis Napier and fellow artist Mervyn Smith. The figures of Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith and their crew, Bennett and Shiers, which are on the memorial building, housing their Vickers Vimy plane, at West Beach are his work.

In 1965 the City Council decided to close King William Street through Victoria Square to allow a fountain, commemorating the Royal Visit of 1962, to be constructed. Dowie was commissioned to design the fountain. He chose as a theme the three main rivers in South Australia which are represented by the bronze figures: the Onkaparinga by an Aboriginal woman with a heron, the Torrens by a woman with a swan and the Murray by an man with an ibis. 

Another major work is the Tjilbruke memorial which was unveiled at Marino in April 1972. For this work Dowie used six irregularly shaped rocks from the Tungkillo-Palmer area to represent Tjilbruke who, according to legend, carried the body of his nephew from Marino to Rapid Bay, his tears becoming springs and waterholes along the route of his journey.

Gaynor Genders, 'The Art of John Dowie', M. Brunato (ed), South Australian Scrapbook , Rigby, 1979.

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