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Biographical Dictionary - Coorow, Carnamah, Three Springs


Surname

Ross David BOWMAN

Born 4 February 1946 in Subiaco, Western Australia [P75]
Son of "John" David Ian McLean BOWMAN and "Nan" Hannah Spence DAVISON [P75]
Resided with his parents and brothers at Lockington House on Lot M1017 of The Home Farm in Carnamah 1946-1953 [P75]
Student at the Carnamah State School in Carnamah 1952-1958 [P75]
After their house burnt down in late 1953 resided with his parents in their renovated garage while a new house was built [P1]
His father changed the name of the farm and their livestock brand registration from The Home Farm to Prowaka Spring in 1955 [P1]
Resided with his parents at New Lockington House on Lot M1016 of Prowaka Spring Farm in Carnamah [P75]
As a child he played on his grandfather’s old and disused steam-powered tractor near his grandparents' home The Homestead [P75]
     The tractor is believed to have been the second used in Carnamah, after one owned by the Midland Railway Company [P1]
     Large parts of the tractor were salvaged for scrap metal when money was being raised for the Carnamah Bowling Club [P75]
Member of the Carnamah Boy Scouts and Carnamah Junior Farmers' Club [P1]
Boarding Student at Scotch College in the Perth suburb of Swanbourne 1959-1963 [P75]
     Passed five subject in his Junior Examinations at Scotch College in 1961 [39: 25-Jan-1962]
     The subjects were English, Geography, Geometry & Trigonometry, Technical Drawing, Commercial Methods & Bookkeeping [39]
Farmer in Carnamah 1963-2006 [P75]
     Farmer with his father and brothers of Prowaka Spring, The Homestead, Martyns, Bowhill and Eastern Grange in Carnamah [P75]
     Later the farmer of Prowaka Spring, Martyns, Eastern Grange in Carnamah and The Block in Eneabba with his brother Ian [P75]
     When he and Ian ended their partnership, he took Prowaka Spring and Martyns and Ian kept Eastern Grange and The Block [P75]
     He extended Prowaka Spring with the adjoining purchase of half of John R. THOMAS' Minapre Farm in Three Springs [P75]
     Following his brother John's retirement also leased and farmed his grandfather's original block The Homestead in Carnamah [P75]
Just before getting married he moved into the house at 9 Yarra Street in Carnamah, which belonged to his father [P75]
Married Yvette Alexis WHITEHURST at Saint John's Church in the Perth suburb of Fremantle on 14 February 1981 [P75]
     His best man at his wedding was Carnamah farmer John BODYCOAT [P75]
     Resided with his wife and later son at 9 Yarra Street in Carnamah 1981-1987 [P75]
     In 1987, at his father's suggestion, they moved to the family home on the farm and his father moved to another farmhouse [P75]
     His father had been living alone and had only been going to the end of the house once or twice a year to check it was okay [P75]
     Resided at New Lockington House on Lot M1016 of Prowaka Spring Farm in Carnamah 1987-2006 [P75]
Financial Member of the Carnamah District Agricultural Society -1971 [13]
Member of the Carnamah Apex Club 1969-1986 – was President in 1971 and 1977 and Treasurer in 1983 [P75]
     During his time with Apex they removed, straightened and reinstalled the roof of Carnamah's historic Macpherson Homestead [P75]
     This first endeavour eventually led to the formation of the Carnamah Restoration Society who worked to restore the building [P75]
Served on the Carnamah Shire Council representing the Prauaka Ward from May 1985 to May 1999 [P75]
     He was Deputy President 1988-1992 and President 1993-1999 of the Carnamah Shire Council [P75]
     Following on from his father and grandfather John BOWMAN, he was a third generation councillor [P75]
     When council number plates were released in 1995 his suggestion of "Carnamah - Eneabba" was used rather than a slogan [P75]
     He chose to step down from the Shire in 1999 to spend more time with his family as his son was in Perth at boarding school [P75]
Sold his Prowaka Spring Farm in Carnamah to his brother Ian and along with his wife left Carnamah on 26 January 2006 [P1]
Resided in retirement at Cardenbank, a seven acre property at 30 Clearview Retreat north-east of Bullsbrook 2006-2016 [P1]
     The property was named after a house of the same name in Fife, Scotland that his great grandmother had lived in as a child [P1]
Briefly returned to Carnamah later in 2006 to run seeding operations on Prowaka Spring Farm for his brother Ian [P75]
Member of the Bullsbrook Volunteer Fire Service - attended over 144 fires between October 2008 and May 2015 [P75]
     Many were small fires near Bullsbrook but some were much larger and further afield, including the Parkerville fires of 2014 [P1]
     He enjoyed the sense of community of the fire brigade and was often available when others weren't, due to being retired [P1]
Passed away at his home in Bullsbrook from lung cancer that was believed to have been caused by asbestos plaques in his lungs [P1]
Father of Andrew [P1]
Died 4 January 2016 and was cremated at the Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park in the Perth suburb of Padbury [P1]
The Bullsbrook Bush Fire Service named their new 12.2 bulk water appliance truck 'Ross' in his honour on 18 December 2016 [P1]
     Their naming decision was unanimous, describing him as "an experienced fire fighter, a mentor to many and a true gentleman" [P1]
     His son Andrew remarked that he would have been embarrassed by the gesture but would also have been very chuffed [P1]
     His wife Yvette thanked the fire brigade for the friendship they gave her husband and for attending his funeral en masse [P1]


From The West Australian newspaper, Thursday 7 February 1946:
Births. "BOWMAN - On February 4, at Kensington Nursing Home, to Mr and Mrs D. Bowman, of Carnamah - a son."


Eulogy written by Ross' son Andrew and read at his funeral by his sister-in-law Yvonne Robinson-Schorer:
     "Ross David Bowman entered this world on 4 February 1946, the second of three boys born to John and Nan Bowman. He grew up with his brothers, John and Ian, on Prowaka Spring Farm in Carnamah. As a boy, he and brother John played up the bush building forts and occasionally snuck in a cigarette. Ian sprung them one day but was sworn to secrecy. That secret is now out, very publicly, but that's probably okay! Away from the farm they spent many happy holidays fishing in Dongara, where their Dad and uncle Bill Grierson owned a beach-house.
     Just before Christmas in 1953 their lives were dramatically jolted while at the pictures in the Carnamah Hall, when  someone came up to inform them that their house was on fire. Their neighbours had already rallied but the house was beyond saving and burnt to the ground along with all of their possessions. Ross thought, and probably hoped, that he'd left some of his toys outside - but he soon discovered that he had not. The family then lived in the garage for two years while a new house was built.
     Ross attended the Carnamah State School until year six followed by almost six years as a boarder at Scotch College in Perth - a school that his father had been dux of in 1934. However, Ross was decided that he would be a farmer and that there was no point in finishing high school, so he left partway through year twelve and returned to Prowaka Spring in time for harvest - somewhat to the dismay of his parents.
     This was the start of a very successful career as a farmer.  Despite being met with the harsh realities of farming, with a string of very dry years, he soon learnt to be both a good farmer and a wise and careful businessman. Between clearing their block at Eneabba, seeding and harvest, Ross often spent one thousand hours a year driving a Countryman tractor. He farmed in partnership with his Dad and brothers, later with his brother Ian and then independently. He often said how happy he was to get up and get to work, as he loved the farm and farming so much.
     On Valentine's Day in 1981, Ross married local girl Yvette Whitehurst. As romantic as a Valentine's Day wedding might sound, that just happened to be the only day that Saint John's Church in Fremantle was available! He and Yvette lived at 9 Yarra Street in Carnamah and a few years later were joined by their son Andrew. Yvette was never getting married or having children, so he did quite well! In 1987 they moved out to the farm and into the family home at Prowaka, where twenty very happy years were spent. Special times included family sausage sizzles up the bush and laying on the front lawn watching the stars and looking for satellites.
     In his youth, Ross was a member of Carnamah's Boy Scouts and later the Carnamah Junior Farmers. In adulthood he was actively involved in the Carnamah Apex Club and over the years held just about every office-bearer position that the club had on offer. He later continued his contribution to the local community as a councillor on the Shire of Carnamah, serving for 14 years, including six years as president. He was also active in the civil defence movement and for many years as the steward of the wool section at Carnamah's annual agricultural shows. In so many ways, Ross loved and helped his community, his extended family, neighbours and friends.
     As much as he loved Carnamah and the farm, retirement eventually beckoned and in early 2006 the farm was sold to his younger brother Ian. Ross and Yvette shifted to seven acres north-east of Bullsbrook, which they named Cardenbank. He enjoyed straightening out the block's terrible fences and soon joined the Bullsbrook Fire Brigade. Over the following years he helped combat an incredible number of fires - in Bullsbrook, surrounding areas and further afield. After settling into retirement, a great love of exploring the bush of the Western Australian outback developed and a few very happy trips were spent with both his wife and with treasured friends.
     Sadly, his days were numbered far fewer than he or anyone else expected. On the 4th of January 2016, exactly one month before his 70th birthday, the effects of lung cancer took their toll. He passed away at home, as was his wish, under the loving care of his wife Yvette, son Andrew and son-in-law David.
     So today we say farewell, to what so many people have referred to as a true gentleman. Ross was a kind, caring and thoughtful man who will be missed by so many family and friends."


Reference:  Carnamah Historical Society & Museum and North Midlands Project, 'Ross David Bowman' in Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, retrieved 13 December 2018 from www.carnamah.com.au  [ sources ]




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