George F. Bowen


Melbourne Rules - Challenge Cup Competition.
First Committee 1864 and 1865, 1866
Original Carlton player
Born: 07 June 1846 Sydney
Died: 14 February 1908 Jolimont
Career: 1863? (see below) - 1864 - 1866

G. F. Bowen is one of eight men who founded the Carlton Football Club.

George's great, great, grand daughter has contacted Blueseum (Nov 2018) and hopefully she can provides us with some more information.
She related that George's parents were convicts who were transported to Sydney. His father arrived in 1820 and his mother Mary McMahon in 1827, they married in 1829. They must have done alright for themselves as they could afford to send George to Melbourne's prestigious Scotch College. (although the school did have more humble beginnings) George's father Ebenezer was later involved in the newspaper business and also owned two houses on Argyle Square Carlton. His descendant said, ".... he was (now) a landlord taking rents, now that's a success story from his earlier chain gang days!" For the Bowens it certainly was the land of opportunity.
Also, she has narrowed the date of George's photo to have been taken to when he was based in Perth as head of Bell's Life Newspaper. The photographers Greenham and Evans were based in Barrack Street and used this type of font typesetting between 1894 - 1901. Bowen was the manager of the Perth edition of the newspaper from 1896 - 1901. As he turned 50 in June 1896, George Bowen would have been aged between 49 and 56 when this image was taken.

There is evidence that George may have taken part in the first ever game between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar in 1858.
Click here to go to the Scotch College web page to see a list of players who took part> www.scotch.vic.edu.au/gscot/09maygs/58.htm
Bowen aka "Olympus" mentions attending Scotch College 1858 - 1860 (Melbourne Punch July 07 1887 p9)

1864 George Frederick Bowen was one of the pioneer players.
Listed as a player 1864, 1865, and 1866.

1866 July 07
Bowen was named captain of the Carlton Second Twenty that played East Collingwood at Princes Park.

George Bowen was also one of the pioneer players of the Carlton Cricket Club.

Bowen wrote in his column in the Melbourne Punch May 21 1891 that he began his sports writing career in the newspaper 'Bell's Life in Victoria' in the early 1860's.

Could this be George Bowen? (He would have been 35 in 1881)
From a 1881 team photo of former Carlton players. See October 1881, also below.

Image: Courtesy Brighton Historical Society, also appears in Mark Pennings' Origins of Australian Football Vol.2
This photo shows 22 former players. It may contain many original Carlton players, however, so far all theses players' names are unknown, except for John/Jack Gardiner.
Not having the names is a problem and makes identification guess work. If George Robertson is in this photo, then he was a current player (he retired this year). If this was taken in 1881 then he looks too old, maybe it is not from that year.

Possibly (17) - Orlando 'Lanty' O'Brien (back row far left), A. E. 'Topsy' Waldron (third from left), Fred W. 'Paddy' Gunn (fourth from left), George Robertson (fifth from left), Val. Robertson, (sixth from left, wearing cap), Robert Robertson (seventh from left), Theophilis S. Marshall back row ninth from left. John Gardiner (sitting with ball), Tom Power (on our left of Gardiner), Billy Dedman far left seated. Harry Guy far right seated, Ben James (portly gentleman standing with arms crossed), Bill Williams (at back, our right of James), George F. Bowen standing far right. Charles Nudd or Henry 'Harry' Nudd sitting on the ground far left, front row, W. 'Bill' Newing on our right of Nudd, unknown, John Macgibbon (front row, sitting on right).
If anyone can identify any of the players please contact Blueseum

Former Carlton player and club president Robert Robertson writing about George Bowen in 1877.
13 years from January 23 1877 takes the friendship back to at least 1864, or, to sometime during 1863.
Trove; Melbourne Punch May 21 1891

1891 May 05
The Argus Classified Advertisements (p8)
SPORTING EDITOR & WRITER, "Nunquam Dormio," "Olympus," open to ENGAGEMENT.
George F. Bowen, McCracken-street, Kensington.

Note: McCracken Street was where former Carlton player Theopilis S. Marshall was the long serving principal of the Kensington State School 1881 - 1894. Also, the street would have been named after the hotel owning and brewing family (the McCrackens) who were the founders of the Essendon Football Club.


George writing under his pen-name of "Nunquam Dormio" for the Daily News in Perth on May 03 (p2) and writing about the coming season said;
"Essendon will be a hard nut to crack this season; so will Geelong and South Melbourne, but there has been a lot of dissension among my old club fellows the Carlton (I was one of the original eight who started it in 1862; that's the day before yesterday, is it not?), and they will have to depend upon their juniors this year to pull them through."
(Blueseum's emphasis)
To read George's article click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article76923964


"On Thursday night, at the Victoria Hall, a complementary send-off was tendered to Mr. George Bowen ("Numquam Dormio"), the well known sporting writer, who goes this week to join a Perth newspaper as sporting editor. ...."
(Sportsman March 10 p2)


The Inquirer & Commercial News (p13) June 19 (Perth W.A.)
The paper's sporting writer going by the name "Nunquam Dormio" (Latin: I never sleep) writing about the numbers of players on the ground, says;
"Being one of the earliest exponents of the Victorian game (a playing member of the Carlton first 20 in 1863-4), and having been intimately associated with the building up thereof, I am qualified to write with an air of authority on this particular subject; and I have come to the conclusion that the Australian (or, more correctly the Victorian) game would be a far more scientific one, and afford greater pleasure to the general public, were the numbers restricted to 15 a side."
(Blueseum's emphasis)
Another tantalising hint that the club predates 1864.
To read this, and other football issues in the article, click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66538560

1896 July 30
The Western Argus reported that George Bowen alias Nunquam Dormio is editor of Bell's Life in Western Australia.


George came to the aid of a elderly tobacco salesman who had dropped his products on the footpath in Elizabeth Street, but he was mistaken as a thief!
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article9778846


"Nunquam Dormio," George Bowen erst of this State, is doing sporting contributing work for Melbourne Age.
Fancy "N.D." as a literary hack.
(Sun (Perth) April 03 p12)


A death notice in the West Australian 22 February 1908 (p1) says George Fredrick Bowen alias Nunquam Dormio died February 14 aged 61.
So George Bowen, a founding member of the Carlton Football Club, says that the club was up and running prior to 1864!
To see George's Death Notice click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article25716163
To read the Coroner's findings click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10666995 this article gives the date of death as 13 February and George's age as 62.
Scotch College gives George's birth around 1846 making him 62.
See Formation of the Club for other references that allude to the earlier establishment of the football club.

George wrote for newspapers under psuedonym of "Nunquam Dormio - I never sleep", also "Olympus" for the Victorian & West Australian press and also for the Otago Witness (NZ).
He died 13 February 1908 from accidental posioning aged 62 years.


The Daily News (Perth) reported on George's death.
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article77335684


The Argus' report of City Coroner's findings.
To read click here> http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article10666995

"With extreme regret we have heard of the death of Mr. G. F. Bowen ("Nunquam Dormio"), which took place on the 13th inst. George Bowen, who wrote well on cricket, football and racing, was one of the most enthusiastic of the Carlton "Old Brigade," which is saying something. At Princes Oval especially his cheery greeting and hearty laugh will be regretfully missed by many old friends."
(Leader February 22 1908 p18)

Blueseum: Pre VFL Players | Pre VFL Administrators
Contributors to this page: blueycarlton and pblue .
Page last modified on Sunday 02 of December, 2018 08:06:21 AEDT by blueycarlton.

Google Search

Random Image

1995 Rd 1 - Ratten in pursuit of the footy.
1972 GF - Percy Jones spoils a marking attempt.

Online Users

267 online users