Biography

Birth date: 16 February 1885
Birth place: Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Death date: 21 February 1954
Death place: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne, Frankston
Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Leslie Bowles was born in Sydney in 1885. He began his studies at the Brisbane Technical College in modelling and woodcarving, and in 1910, won a McConnell scholarship and travelled to London. While in England, he studied at the South London School of Sculpture and the Royal Academy School and became an assistant to Betram MacKennal, another expatriate Australian sculptor working in England.

Bowles enlisted in the 25th London Regiment in 1914, and the same year transferred to the Royal Tank Corps, with whom he served in France until 1919. After the war, he returned to England and resumed his study at the Royal Academy. In 1923, he entered the competition to design a memorial to the Australians and New Zealanders who fought in the Desert Mounted Corps in Port Said, Egypt. Bowles' design was awarded 3rd place in the competition, which was won by Charles Web Gilbert.

On returning to Australia in 1924, Bowles was employed by the Australian War Memorial on the production of dioramas depicting significant events from the First World War. He worked in the modelling section with a team of other artists, including Charles Web Gilbert and Wallace Anderson.

After Gilbert's death in 1925, Bowles became head sculptor of the modelling section at the Memorial, and remained in this position until 1931. His work also included the supervising the repair, and casting in bronze, of figures previously modeled by Gilbert, modelling heads of diverse nationalities for mannequins used to display military uniforms, and designing the gargoyles in the commemorative courtyard. Bowles produced several sculptures for the Memorial, including The man with the donkey, a memorial to Simpson and his donkey. With Napier Waller, Bowles also designed the initial sculptural feature for the Hall of Memory.

He was also often called upon for advice on the commissioning of sculptures and memorials right up until his death in 1954.

Rolls and Awards

Collection Items

Art

Pioneer

Bronze statue cast in 1936 from a mould made in 1922, of an Infantryman (also known as a pioneer), with rifle and spade. Pioneers were specialist infantrymen, who, as well as their ordinary infantry duties, built dugouts for Headquarters and the RAP, dug latrines, carried rations and ammunition...

ART12428

The Digger

Statue of an unidentified infantryman wearing protective helmet, gas mask in case on his chest and carrying a rifle.

ART12502

Gunners

Web Gilbert made a number of bronze sculptures depicting Australian soldiers in action on the Western Front. In this work, two of the five-man detachment of an 18-pounder field gun are dead or wounded; the other three continue to operate the gun. Spent shells and a shovel are strewn on the ground.

ART12503

Zero hour (8th August, 1918)

Three infantrymen, depicting the neat, tidy, steady-going, public school boy; the tall, rangy, country lad; and the hard, industrial, larrikin 'Ginger Mick' type. The central figure is carrying a Lewis Mark I machine gun (Ginger Mick is a character in C J Dennis's 'Sentimental Bloke' poems). Bronze...

ART12504

The Anzacs (maquette for Desert Mounted Corps Memorial)

Australian light horsemen depicted during the Sinai-Palestine campaign as a proposal for symbolic composition for a Desert Mounted Corps Memorial. The plasticene model of 1919 was cast into plaster by George Perugia in 1928, under Lambert's supervision, for the Australian War Memorial. After...

ART12505

Cameleer

Camel and rider, standard issue saddlery and uniform, Sinai-Palestine campaign.

ART12563

Prisoners of war

Depicts three German First World War soldiers, prisoners of war, one wearing forage cap and carrying gas mask, others wearing protective (tin) helmets, central one carrying bread bag for field rations, all disarmed (not wearing webbing). Bronze cast 1937, Melbourne; plaster cast 1922, Melbourne.

ART12592

Stretcher bearers

Two German prisoners of war lifting stretcher with Australian soldier, who is covered with his greatcoat. Prisoners of war were often used to assist walking wounded or carry stretchers from the front line on their way to the prison camp.

ART12660

The man with the donkey

Soldier mounted on donkey and assisted by 202 Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick (known as Simpson or 'the man with the donkey') 3rd Fd Amb, to reach an aid post (in this work Simpson is wearing a forage cap instead of a slouch hat). This edition was cast in bronze in 1950 by EJ Gregory, Melbourne. ...

ART19795

Memorial to Lieutenant-Colonel John Treloar

Bronze memorial plaque for Lieutenant-Colonel John Treloar OBE, former director of the Australian War Memorial.

ART31470

Gurnet

This gargoyle depicts the face of a gurnet. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason, Mr W. Swan, carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93041

Dingo

This gargoyle depicts the face of a dingo. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93042

Eagle

This gargoyle depicts the face of an eagle. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93043

Bearded dragon

This gargoyle depicts the face of a bearded dragon. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93044

Carpet snake

This gargoyle depicts the face of a carpet snake. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93045

Mopoke

This gargoyle depicts the face of a mopoke. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93046

Cockatoo

This gargoyle depicts the face of a sulpher crested cockatoo. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93047

Tasmanian devil

This gargoyle depicts the face of a Tasmanian devil. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93048

Frog

This gargoyle depicts the face of a frog. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93049

Bush turkey

This gargoyle depicts the face of a bush turkey. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93050

Wombat

This gargoyle depicts the face of a wombat. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93051

Kangaroo

This gargoyle depicts the face of a kangaroo. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93052

Aboriginal (female)

This gargoyle depicts the face of an Aboriginal woman. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93053

Goanna

This gargoyle depicts the face of a goanna. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93054

Opossum

This gargoyle depicts the face of an opossum. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93055

Kookaburra

This gargoyle depicts the face of a kookaburra. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93056

Mountain devil

This gargoyle depicts the face of a mountain devil. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93057

Cassowary

This gargoyle depicts the face of a cassowary. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93058

Frilled neck lizard

This gargoyle depicts the face of a frilled neck lizard. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93059

Swan

This gargoyle depicts the face of a swan. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93060

Cuscus

This gargoyle depicts the face of a cuscus. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93061

Frogmouth owl

This gargoyle depicts the face of a frogmouth owl. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93062

Platypus

This gargoyle depicts the face of a platypus. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93063

Koala

This gargoyle depicts the face of a koala. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93064

Emu

This gargoyle depicts the face of an emu. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93065

Aboriginal (male)

This gargoyle depicts the face of an Aboriginal man. It is situated in the Commemorative Courtyard of the Australian War Memorial. In 1940-41, a stonemason carved this piece based on a plaster model created in c. 1939 by sculptor William Leslie Bowles.

ART93066

Louis McCubbin

Head of Louis McCubbin.

ART93416

Opossum gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the face of an opossum. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART93418

Design for the Four Freedoms

Design for the Four Freedoms sculpture for the Hall of Memory. The sculpture was never completed.

ART91934

Female Aborigine gargoyle

This gargoyle depicts the face of an Aboriginal woman. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone gargoyle in...

ART90752

Male Aborigine gargoyle

This gargoyle depicts the face of an Aboriginal man. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone gargoyle in...

ART90753

Kangaroo gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the face of a kangaroo. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90754

Wombat gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the face of a wombat. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90755

Bush turkey gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a bush turkey. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ...

ART90756

Frog gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a frog. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90757

Tasmanian Devil gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a Tasmanian Devil. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ...

ART90758

Cockatoo gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an...

ART90759

Mopoke gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a Mopoke. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90760

Carpet snake gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a Carpet Snake. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ...

ART90761

Kookaburra gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a kookaburra. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ...

ART90762

Bearded dragon gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a bearded dragon. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ...

ART90763

Dingo gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a dingo. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90764

Gurnet gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a gurnet. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90765

Emu gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of an emu. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90766

Koala gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a koala. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90767

Platypus gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a platypus. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90768

Frogmouth owl gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a frogmouth owl. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ...

ART90769

Cuscus gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a cuscus. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90770

Swan gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a swan. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90771

Frilled neck lizard gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a frilled neck lizard. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an...

ART90772

Cassowary gargoyle

Plaster made for the stonemason to carve a gargoyle for the Commemorative Courtyard, Australian War Memorial. Cassowaries are a large flightless bird belonging to the "Ratite" family. There are 3 species of which the "Southern Cassowary" is found in North Queensland, Australia. Normally Cassowaries...

ART90773

Mountain devil gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a mountain devil. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ...

ART90774

Eagle gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of an eagle. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90775

Goanna gargoyle

This plaster model for a gargoyle depicts the head of a goanna. The plaster model was created in the studio of William Leslie Bowles in Melbourne with the assistance of sculptor, Ray Ewers. In 1940 and 1941 the plaster cast was used as the template for a stonemason to carve an in-situ sandstone...

ART90776

General Monash

Miniature portrait bust of General Monash. In March 1932, the Australian War Memorial approached Bowles to create a statuette of General Monash and "possibly also Captain Jacka would be popular". Bowles chose to create a miniature bust of Monash that would then be cast in multiples for sale...

ART40933

Pozieres

This diorama depicts events from the summer of 1916 when the Australians captured the crest of the Somme-Ancre ridge beyond Pozieres. The terrific bombardments laid down by both sides in this fighting pulverised the countryside, obliterating trenches and burying the troops in the debris. In this...

ART41019

Magdhaba

The Camel Corps, which was formed in January 1916, and comprised former Australian infantrymen and light horse reinforcements as well as New Zealanders and British yeomanry, played a magnificent role in the desert operations. This diorama shows the charge of the 10th Light Horse Regiment. As all...

ART41046

Magdhaba:Back Section

The Camel Corps, which was formed in January 1916, and comprised former Australian infantrymen and light horse reinforcements as well as New Zealanders and British yeomanry, played a magnificent role in the desert operations. This diorama shows the charge of the 10th Light Horse Regiment. As all...

ART41046.002

Magdhaba:Plasterboard Backdrop

The Camel Corps, which was formed in January 1916, and comprised former Australian infantrymen and light horse reinforcements as well as New Zealanders and British yeomanry, played a magnificent role in the desert operations. This diorama shows the charge of the 10th Light Horse Regiment. As all...

ART41046.003

Yer tellin' me

Depicts the famed cartoon characters 'Bluey and Curley' from the series designed and created by Alex Gurney in 1943. During the Second World War, Bluey and Curley were synonymous with the male larrikin and conveyed through humour, an Australian war experience. Themes that Gurney would continue to...

ART93936

Louis McCubbin

This bronze cast of the head of Louis McCubbin was cast from an original plaster by William Leslie Bowles. In 1924, the two artists worked together with Wallace Anderson, and Charles Webb Gilbert on the production of many of the Dioramas for the Australian War Memorial.

ART94001

Over the top

Depicts an Infantryman, wearing a uniform and tin helmet, in the act of climbing out of a trench to attack across No Man's Land, during the First World War.

ART09833

Dernancourt

When the German offensive of March 1918 had been checked before Amiens, the enemy, with four divisions, on 5 April, made a strenuous effort to smash a way through at Dernancourt. Involving an initial retirement against enormous odds up the face of an open hillside by the 4th Division, as well as a...

ART41021

Bullecourt

This diorama depicts events relating to 11 April 1917 when the 4th Australian Division attacked the Hindenburg Line near the village of Bullecourt. The tanks that were to have broken a way through the wire failed badly and the infantry, with great gallantry but no support, flung themselves against...

ART41022

Timeline

Date of birth 1885-02-16
Date of death 1954-02-21