World-renowned as a sculptor and painter, Dowie studied architecture at the University of Adelaide, and painting with Marie Tuck and Ivor Hele. He served in the Military History Section of the A.I.F, and for a time was assistant to the official war sculptor, Lyndon Dadswell. He later studied sculpture in London and Florence, and on his return to Australia, lectured at the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts1(954-1962).
Dowie's works include the Victor Richardson Gates at the Adelaide Oval, Adelaide's Victoria Square fountain, the Icarus sculpture at Tullamarine and the statue of Queen Elizabeth II in Parliament House, Canberra. He was Senior Australian of the Year, 2005.