Biography

Birth date: 28 August 1916
Birth place: Australia: Victoria, Melbourne
Death date: 10 June 1990
Final rank: Lieutenant
Service number: VX97193 - Second World War, 1939-1945

Born in Melbourne in 1916, Rowed studied painting and drawing at Melbourne Technical College from 1934 to 1938 under Napier Waller and John Rowell. After his studies, Rowed worked in the commercial art field until 1940, producing mostly murals, examples of which included Flinders Street railway nursery crèche, Nursery of Mercy Hospital and Captain Cook's landing, in Peninsula House on Collins Street, Melbourne. In 1940, recruiting posters designed by Rowed and Daryl Lindsay were selected from among 200 submissions and were used in connection with the Mural of time film.

In 1940, Rowed enlisted in the Army, later enlisting in the RAAF and beginning pilot training. In April 1945, at the urging of both his sister and his teacher, Napier Waller, he was appointed an official war artist for the Military History Section of the Australian War Memorial and was commissioned to depict the war in the New Guinea Campaign. Stationed in Bougainville for the duration of the campaign, Rowed sketched the Australian troops, the Japanese in the area and the repercussions of the war. After the Japanese surrender in August of 1945 Rowed moved to Rabaul, Nazab and Wewak in order to experience the aftermath of the war there. His pictures from this time depict the opening of the trials and departure of the Japanese prisoners of war, the recreational activities of the Australian troops and the situation of the indigenous people and the country after the war.

In 1946, after a short return to Melbourne to produce finished paintings from sketches he had made in New Guinea, Rowed joined the occupying troops in Hiroshima, Japan where he recorded the effects of the atomic bomb on the city, the graveyards, the poverty and the detraction. What is interesting about Rowed's work from Japan however is his change in style; normally a semi-traditional painter in oils, many of Rowed's Japanese scenes take on an oriental ink painting quality, in pencil and colour wash. Perhaps local artisans or a prior knowledge of oriental art styles influenced him, or perhaps the desolate landscape best suited his minimalist style. The Memorial holds Rowed's works from both New Guinea and Japan and the differences between the two are quite apparent.

After Rowed's return to Australia in 1947, he taught from 1948 to 1976 at the Melbourne Technical College, lecturing in textile design. During this time, he continued to paint and, in 1950, shared second place for the Dunlop Award in oil painting. In retirement, Rowed continued painting landscapes, seascapes and architectural subjects. He also ran a small studio gallery, "Kandahars", in Brighton, Victoria. Rowed died in 1990.

Rolls and Awards

Collection Items

Photograph

089995

MELBOURNE, VIC, 1945-06-06. PORTRAIT OF VX97193 LIEUTENANT R. R. W. ROWED, MILITARY HISTORY SECTION.

089995

097504

BOUGAINVILLE. 1945-10-01. LIEUTENANT R. W. W. ROWED, OFFICIAL WAR ARTIST, SKETCHING A JAPANESE BARGE LOADED WITH TROOPS AND STORES EN ROUTE TO A CONCENTRATION AREA IN THE FAURO ISLANDS.

097504

096780

BUKA ISLAND, BOUGAINVILLE AREA, 1945-09-19. LIEUTENANT W.W. ROWED, OFFICIAL WAR ARTIST, MAKING A PENCIL SKETCH OF JAPANESE NAVAL OFFICER. THE ARTIST ACCOMPANIED THE AUSTRALIAN SURRENDER PARTY FROM HQ 2 CORPS TO NORTH OF BOUGAINVILLE.

096780

096781

BUKA ISLAND, BOUGAINVILLE AREA, 1945-09-19. LIEUTENANT W.W. ROWED, OFFFICIAL WAR ARTIST, MAKING A PENCIL SKETCH OF JAPANESE NAVAL OFFICER. THE ARTIST ACCOMPANIED THE AUSTRALIAN SURRENDER PARTY FROM HQ 2 CORPS TO NORTH OF BOUGAINVILLE.

096781

123583

TOROKINA, BOUGAINVILLE. 1945-11-03. HEADQUARTERS 3 DIVISION. A MURAL PAINTED BY LIEUTENANT ROWED, A MILITARY HISTORY SECTION ARTIST, FOR THE ALTAR IN PATTISON CHAPEL. (PHOTOGRAPHER LT H. FREEMAN)

123583

131946

NIKKO, JAPAN. C. 1946-09-27. TROOPS FROM THE LAKESIDE HOTEL, BCOF REST CENTRE, CLUSTER AROUND OFFICIAL WAR ARTIST VX97193 LIEUTENANT R. R. ROWED OF MELBOURNE, VIC, TO WATCH HIM DRAWING.

131946

131947

NIKKO, JAPAN. C. 1946-09-27. OFFICIAL WAR ARTIST VX97193 LIEUTENANT R. R. ROWED OF MELBOURNE, VIC, SKETCHING ALONG THE ROADSIDE.

131947

Art

Hiroshima

A view of the epicentre of Hiroshima following the dropping of the Atomic Bomb. People are walking through the debris of broken rubble, with some partially destroyed buildings still standing. The Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall, now referred to as A-Dome Bomb, can be seen in the...

ART26539

Boating, Lake Chuzenji

Australian troops boating on Lake Chuzenji, in the Nikko area of Japan, 80 miles north of Tokyo during leave stay at the "Lakeside Hotel", one of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) chain of leave hostels. The Nikko area is famed as a beauty spot and national park and contains much of...

ART26540

Koreans' Repatriation Centre, Senzaki, Japan

The 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) were in charge of the Repatriation Centre at Senzaki where Koreans were deported to Korea.

ART26712

Hiro

View across to the landscape near the Japanese town of Hiro. Pictured is the site of Headquarters 66th Australian Infantry Battalion, which situated in long buildings in the middle distance of the image.

ART26715

Pattern of hills, Eta Jima

Headquarters of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) on the island of Eta Jima, Japan. In the background are terraced hills.

ART26716

Hiroshima

Japanese are rummaging among wreckage following the bombing of Hiroshima. There is a twisted steel structure still standing, but the rest of the landscape has been flattened and is strewn with wreckage.

ART26717

Repatriation centre, Senzaki - Innoculating a child

A Korean child is passing through the medical line-up prior to being returned to Korea. The child is just starting to cry after having five injections in quick succession. The Repatriation Centre at Senzaki was under the supervision of 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force (N.Z.E.F).

ART26732

Bridge to the leave hostel, Beppu

The Leave Hostel at Beppu, named "Hakuum Hostel", was a former favorite holiday place for Hirohito. British Commonwealth Occupation Force troops now relax in the once very exclusive holiday rendezvous of the Japanese high and mighty.

ART26734

Anchors, Kure

A heap of old ruined chains and anchors in the ruined dock-yard at Kure suggests a symbol of maritime decay.

ART26736

Counting confiscated yen - Repatriation Centre, Senzaki

Money confiscated from Koreans is counted by Japanese officials - Koreans who try to get into Japan often have large amounts of yen and authorities are mystified as to how and where it is acquired.

ART26737

Repatriation centre, Senzaki, a very disappointed Korean

Koreans are only allowed to retain 1000 yen before being sent back to their homeland. This one has just been relieved of a large sum and is a little upset. A New Zealand soldier gently pushes him on his way.

ART26738

Repatriation centre, Ujina, inoculating Okinawan child

This Japanese repatriation centre at Ujina - near Hiroshima - is under the control of British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) and supervised by 65th Australian Infantry Battalion. The sketch was made during an inoculation and vaccination line-up by Okinawan prior to evacuation to Okinawan. An...

ART26740

The Squadron C.O. (Flight Lieutenant Griffiths)

Depicts a portrait of Flight Lieutenant Griffiths, Commanding, No 5 Squadron, No 5 Mobile Works (later Airfield Construction) Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force, Piva Airstrip, Torokina, Bougainville.

ART25218

Beaufort

A Beaufort aircraft at 10 Local Air Supply Unit, (L.A.S.U), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF),Piva, Bougainviulle, August 1945.

ART25219

New tail wanted

10 Local Air Supply Unit, (L.A.S.U) of the Royal Australian Air Force at work on an aircraft, Piva Airstrip, Bougainville.

ART25220

Pratt and Whitney engine repair section

Pratt and Whitney Engine Repair Section, 25 Servicing Unit, Royal New Zealand (RNZAF), Piva Airstrip, Bougainville.

ART25222

Corsair and bric-a-brac

A scene on the Air Station of the Royal New Zealand Air Force at Piva Airstrip, Torokina, Bougainville.

ART25224

Pilot's rigout - Pilot, R.N.Z.A.F

A working drawing of an unidentified pilot wearing a pilot rigout, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Piva Airstrip, Torokina, Bougainville.

ART25226

Corsair maintenance

A Vought Corsair aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force under repair at 31 Servicing Unit, R.N.Z.A.F at Piva Airstrip, Bougainville.

ART25227

Camp Rata

Camp Rata, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Bougainville.

ART25228

Water craft, Saposa

Sketch of two vessels from the Water Transport Company at Saposa Island, North Bougainville.

ART25231

Japanese Naval M.P Sentry

Detail note of Japanese uniform at Japanese Naval Headquarters, Buka Passage, Bougainville.

ART25232

Japanese at Mess - Fauro Island

Japanese prisoners of war at Fauro Island where they have been interned, are seen eating a meal, Fauro Island, South of Bougainville.

ART25233

Japanese evacuating Kahili

Japanese naval troops packing up to move to prisoner-of-war camp at Fauro Island. An unusual type of Japanese hut can be seen in the background, Bougainville.

ART25234

Japanese sick

Depicts three sketches of a sick Japanese man, at 17 Field Ambulande, Bougainville. Japanese sick were evacuated by hospital barge to 17th Australian Field Ambulance at Soraken Peninsular, North Bougainville.

ART25235

Sick Japanese

A sick Japanese man lies on a stretcher, evacuated by hospital barge to 17th Australian Field Ambulance, Soraken Peninsular, North Bougainville.

ART25236

General Kanda's house, Buin

Lieutenant-General Masatane Kanda, commanded 17th Japanese Army and was Officer-in-Charge of all Japanese Forces on Bougainville and adjacant islands.

ART25237

Notes on diversity of Japanese clothing

This drawing shows a series of sketches on the diversity of Japanese clothing as worn by Japanese prisoners-of-war during the Second World War. One sketch is identified as CMD Tarahashi (second left) at Bougainville.

ART25239

Searching Jap prisoners

Field Security Unit officers searching the gear of Japanese prisoners-of-war who have been brought by barge from Bougainville Island to Fauro Island for internment, Fauro Island, Solomons.

ART25243

Admiral Samejima and party going to Sarnauso Island as PW's

Vice-Admiral Baron Tomoshige Samejima, Commander-in-chief, Japanese Navy, Northern Solomons, travelling on one of the remaining remnants of Japanese sea power from Kahili to Sarnauso Island in the Fauro Group. Two similar barges carried about 17 Generals including Lieutenant-General kanda,...

ART25244

Landing Japanese on Fauro Island

Approximately 18,000 Japanese from the Buin area were transported over 60 kilometers by sea to the Fauro Group. Australian barges carred the main body and this picture shows the scene on one of the beaches of the bustle and activity unlaoding personnel and gear, Bougainville.

ART25245

Old Japanese hut, Buka Passage

Hut at Japanese Naval Headquarters Buka Passage, Bougainville. Sketch made during surrender negotiations.

ART25246

Corporal Reid

Piva; No 5 Mobile Works (later Airfield Construction) Squadron; Corporal Reid, Fitter 2E, No 5 Sqdn RAAF

ART25248

Japanese going home

Japanese troops from Muschu Island Prisoner-of-war camp off the coast at Wewak, boarding the Japanese demilitarised cruiser "Kashima" for repatriation to Japan, New Guinea.

ART25249

Japanese going home

Japanese troops from Muschu Island Prisoner-of-War Camp oof the coast at Wewak, boarding the Japanese demilitarised cruiser "Kashima" for repatriaton to Japan, New Guinea.

ART25250

Japanese going home

Japanese troops from Muschu Island Prisoner-of-War Camp off the coast at Wewak, boarding the Japanese demilitarised cruiser "Kashima" for repatriation to Japan.

ART25251

Japanese tanks, Rabaul

Enemy tanks surrendered and now in 2/4th Australian Armoured Regiment area. Japanese tank crews look after maintenance and repairs; Australian Armoured personnel amuse themselves by driving the tanks around.

ART25252

Japanese war criminals' compound, Rabaul

Japanese prisoners-of-war awaiting trial guarded by native soldier.

ART25256

Wrecked installations, Rabaul

Remains of Japanese oil tanks and salt ponds at the end of Lakunai airstrip.

ART25258

Sig maintenance

Signal technicians of "B" Squadron, 2/4th Australian Armoured Regiment overhauling radio equipment on the Buin Road, near Hongorai River, South Bougainville.

ART25260

Petty Officer Tsuji

Depicting portrait of Naval Petty Officer Tsuji, at Japanese Navy Headquarters, Buka Passage.

ART25261

Living Skeleton

Drawn at the Japanese Naval Headquarters Hospital, Buka Passage. One of the many Japanese who died through lack of skilled medical attention and neglect.

ART25262

Matuhi Volcano, Rabaul

At the end of Laksunai airstrip is Matuhi volcanoe. In the foreground is a wrecked Japanese aircraft and a small group of men.

ART25264

Japanese unloading ammunition for dumping

Showing Japanese under surveillance of Australians, loading arms and ammunition into barges to be taken to sea and dumped. This panorama shows, from left to right, the mother volcano Matupi and south daughter volcanoes.

ART25266

Engineers repairing bridge, Wewak, N.G.

Australian Army Engineers repairing a bridge at Wewak, New Guinea, about a mile from Cape Worn on the road to Wewak Point. A wrecked Japanese truck can be seen in the stream below the road.

ART23726

"Wokira" Native Police Boy

Portrait depicting "Wokira", native police boy, New Guinea Constabulary, Bougainville, New

ART26059

Australians at fruit market, Rabaul

Australians at fruit market, Tahili, Rabaul, site of native market close to several infantry battalions.

ART26179

Private Kenna winning the V.C.

Unfinished oil painting of the action that resulted in Private Edward (Ted) Kenna receiving the Victoria Cross. On 15 May 1945, Kenna was involved in an action near Wewak, New Guinea, during which he exposed himself to heavy fire, killing a Japanese machine gun crew and making it possible for his...

ART26188

Samurai with sword

Samurai with sword, drawn for the Australian War Memorial Christmas Book. The drawing suggests original old Japanese prints featuring Samurai with swords.

ART26217

Shimoniseki

Shimoniseki is the rail terminal in the south-west of Honshu Island and is close to Chafu where Headquarters 2 New Zealand Expeditionary Force, (NZEF), is established. The town is badly battered about by aerial attack, but the busiest activity came from the port area where positions of the Japanese...

ART26366

Fallen idol, Hiroshima

Ruined masonary and a fallen Buddah, are all that remain of a one time shrine.

ART26372

Still bombed out, October '46

Only a few minutes by jeep from the elaborate and unharmed Diet building, families live in humpies like this one, reminiscent of the Dudley Flats in Melbourne. This winter will be a hard one for them.

ART26373

Hiroshima

The centre of the atomic disturbance. The building on the right with the dome was the aiming point for the bomb.

ART26374

Sigs cable laying station

A number of submarine cables were laid between Eta Jima and various points along the coast of the mainland to provide increased telephone channels between British Commonwealth Occupied Forces (BCOF) and Base Headquarters. Lieutenant Buckley of Signals was in charge of operations and skippered the...

ART26375

Submarine dockyard, Kure

Japanese dockyard workers cleaning scrap from the bottom of a dock once almost filled with midget submarines and other junk.

ART26376

Japanese Sampans, Kure Harbour

Close to Eta Jima ferry terminal. The mountain in the background has a road to the top where there was an ack ack post. A fine view of the island of inland sea can be obtained from there.

ART26377

'Britcom Base' labour pool, Kure

A large amount of Japanese labour is employed by the occupation forces and casuals and new people signed in are sorted out early in the morning at the pool.

ART26378

Cutting up midget submarines, Kure

Kure Naval dockyards. These submarines were situated at the end of a dock full of ships, midget submarines and scrap iron. Japanese under British Commonwealth Occupation Forces (BCOF) control are busy cleaning up the area.

ART26379

Okinawa Japanese being inoculated preparatory to repatriation to their homeland

Repatriation Centre at Ujima near Hiroshima controlled by 65th Australian Infantry Battalion. Men, women and children stand in a queue to receive an inoculation.

ART26380

POW returning to Japan

Otaki repatriation centre controlled by No.2 New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF) Cavalry Division. Japanese are greeted by the sight of the great industrial wreckage in the background.

ART26381

Airstrip, Ozuki

2 New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF), area near Chofu and Shimoniseki. This aerodrome was used for the training of Japanese kamikaze pilots during the later stages of the war. From here they would fly to southern Kyushu then to Okinawa or out to sea.

ART26382

Alongside BCOF ferry terminal, Koyo, Eta Jima

Familiar scene to all travellers on the Koyo - Kure ferry.

ART26383

Tokyo canal

A view across a Tokyo canal. This area once contained many modern buildings, but these were severely damaged or reduced to rubble.

ART26384

Epitomization of SNAFU, Otaki

Wrecked oil refinery. Otaki is a repatriation area for returning Japanese POW. 2 New Zealand Expeditionary Force Cavalry Division are in control of the centre.

ART26385

Brigadier David Whitehead

2 Australian Imperial Force; NX376 Brigadier David Adie Whitehead, CBE, DSO and Bar, MC, MID (twice), Commanding 26 Bde; North Africa

ART31775

Changing sentries, Imperial Palace Tokyo

A study of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan, with surrounding landscape and birds flying overhead. Two Australian Soldiers are presented in the lower left corner. Initially working as a commercial artist, Reginald Rowed (1916-1990) was appointed official war artist in April 1945 to record the...

ART96367

Rebuilding Hiroshima

This sketch was made almost on the first anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Japanese civilians are clearing away rubble to make a site for another shanty.

ART26220

Boxing match, Wewak Point

Wewak Point Stadium on a Saturday night after the surrender, featuring one of the recreational activities provided for the troops after the Japanese surrender. The Aitape-Wewak campaign, fought in New Guinea, was the final campaign for the 6th Division. It was a slow and taxing campaign, fought...

ART25508

Regatta, Dallman Harbour, Wewak

6th Australian Division troops at Wewak holding a regatta on 11th November, 1945. Yatching was taken up as a post-war recreation. The boat building was done by the boys themselves.

ART26184

Jemadar Chint Singh

Portrait depicting 13887 Jemadar Chint Singh, 2/12 Frontier Force Regiment, Indian Army. The last surviving member of Indian prisoner-of-war in Wewak area. Taken prisoner in Singapore in 1942, he was sent with a body of Indian prisoners-of-war by the Japanese to New Guinea, where he remained until...

ART25268

Hiroshima snow

A view of the bombed ruins of the city of Hiroshima during snow storm. Pictured in the foreground is a stone lantern, rubble, and some tree branches. On the other side of a body of water is the bomb damged city, and the snow covered surrounding hills.

ART26713

Timeline

Date of birth 1916-08-28
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1945-04-24
Date of discharge 1947-05-28
Date of death 1990-06-10