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Charles Rowcroft (International) assertion Charles Rowcroft i(A7104 works by)
Also writes as: A Late Colonial Magistrate ; I. E. M.
Born: Established: 12 Jul 1798 London,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 23 Aug 1856
Gender: Male
Visitor assertion Arrived in Australia: 1821 Departed from Australia: 1826
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Charles Rowcroft was born in London in 1798. Educated at Eton, he was the eldest son of Thomas Rowcroft, a prominent London merchant and alderman who was killed in Lima, Peru, while serving as British consul-general.

In 1821 Rowcroft took up a grant of 2000 acres at the Clyde River near Hobart Town. Active in local politics and business, he was made a justice of the peace and was an original shareholder of the Van Diemen's Land Bank. But the land on which he laboured was poor and he left Van Diemen's Land as a pauper in September 1825.

During his return voyage to London, Rowcroft met the widow Jane Curling who was travelling with her eight children. The couple were married in Rio de Janeiro several months later. Following their return to London in 1826, Rowcroft ran a small school with his wife and he began a literary career as editor of the Courier.

At his own expense, Rowcroft published his first novel in 1843. Based on his experience in Van Diemen's Land, Tales of the Colonies: or the Adventures of an Emigrant, Edited by a late Colonial Magistrate was the first Australian novel of the emigrant genre, containing melodramatic episodes of Aboriginals, bushrangers and white settlers on the frontier. At this time, Rowcroft was also editor of the British Queen and Statesman and he was appointed editor of Hood's Magazine and Comic Miscellany in 1845. His second novel, The Bushranger of Van Diemen's Land was serialised in the latter periodical and was published in book form in 1846. He resigned his editorship in 1846 and wrote six more novels between 1846 and 1852, drawing on his Australian his experience for just one of these, George Mayford: an Emigrant in Search of a Colony (1851). His autobiographical novel The Confessions of an Etonian was published by Saunders and Otley in 1846 under the pseudonym I. E. M.

Rowcroft's novels were commercial failures and from 1848 he applied several times for financial assistance from the Royal Literary Fund. His wife died in 1849 and in August 1852 he re-married before taking up an appointment as the first British Consul at Cincinnati, Ohio. But he was dismissed from the post in 1856 after being accused of breaking American neutrality laws by recruiting US soldiers for Britain's Crimean campaign. Rowcroft sailed for England, but died at sea in August 1856 under suspicious circumstances.

Most Referenced Works


  • The novel, Footprints in Foreign Lands (1864), listed by Miller and Macartney, has not been found.
  • See the Australian Dictionary of Biography entry for Charles Rowcroft (1798-1856)
Last amended 2 Jun 2021 12:26:50
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