Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Revisiting a Sea Legend; Looking Back with Di Millar

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Revisiting a Sea Legend; Looking Back with Di Millar

Article excerpt

FORMER drover Harry Bowden came to the Tweed a short time after his marriage took place in Sydney in December 1902 and took up farming at Piggabeen. He and his wife Alice, formerly Miss Alice Mary Brand Burness, from Carcoar, named their new home Moa in memory of Harry's father Captain James Frederick Bowden, one of four seafaring brothers who commanded ships in the Australian and New Zealand maritime trade from the 1830s to the early 1900s.

James Bowden was influenced by his older brother, John Searle Bowden, to undertake a seafaring life. Around 1833 John had left his home in the English county of Devon and sailed out to the Antipodes where he worked as a whaler and trader, eventually taking command of his own vessel.

John Bowden returned to Devon and brought his widower father, two sisters and four brothers back to Australia where they settled in Melbourne. Brothers Robert, James and Henry Bowden joined John in the shipping trade and in time they all captained their ships. While John, Robert and Henry were content to sail the Australian coastal waters, James sailed further afield and operated on the New Zealand Australia shipping runs.

In the early 1850s. James Bowden commanded the brigantine Maukin and later the brig Moa. Following an Auckland to Sydney run in April 1858, the Moa's passengers presented Captain James Bowden with an inscribed silver cup in appreciation of his kindness and attention during the voyage. Captain Bowden thanked everyone for the cup, which he intended to value for as long as he lived. He trusted that it would be handed down to his family and hoped that its possession would prove to be an incentive in creating a career of usefulness.

In June 1859 Captain Bowden gave up command of the Moa and was put in command of the steamship Prince Alfred which was owned by the Intercontinental Royal Mail Steam Packet Company. The company had obtained British and New Zealand Government contracts to convey English mail to New Zealand and mail between Auckland and Sydney in addition to its passenger service.

Captain Bowden's last command in connection with the NZ shipping trade was the steamship Lord Worsley which was wrecked on the Taranaki coast on New Zealand's North Island in October 1862. …

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