Labour Australia

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: Use double quotes to search for a phrase

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

Older articles are being reviewed with a view to bringing them into line with contemporary values but the original text will remain available for historical context.

Percy John Rowe (1889–1948)

This entry is from Obituaries Australia

At 2 o'clock yesterday morning the Mayor of Broken Hill, ??, John Francis Rowe, died at his residence, 50 Williams Lane.

Ald. Rowe had been a resident of Broken Hill for about 30 years and was actively associated with the Labor movement, industrially and politically. He had broken all city records by his unbroken occupancy of the Mayoralty for over nine years.

The late Ald. Rowe was born at Clunes in Victoria 56 years ago. He went to work in the mines in that State at a very young age and also for a little time in W.A. before coming here.

He worked as a miner on the line of lode till he became mayor on July 18, 1930 [NB. became mayor in 1939]. For some years before leaving the industry he had worked continuously at the Zinc Corporation. He was president of the Job Committee on that mine for years.

When Ald. Rowe came to Broken Hill conditions in the mining industry were being challenged by unionism and the spark of militant action was assuming a fire-like aspect. Ald. Rowe fitted himself into this environment and carried on as a 'rank and filer' till later when he was elected to various positions in the trade union movement in the years that followed the big strike of 1919-20.

Ald. Rowe was well known in the Labor Movement for years before he successfully sought municipal honors in December, 1937. He had a very long record as a delegate of the W. I.U. of A. on the B.I.C. He had for two different terms been vice-president of the W.I.U. of A. of which he had been a member from the very start of his residence in Broken Hill till the day of his death.

The late Ald. Rowe was a member of the Barrier Social Democratic Club for very many years and was president for over 14 years consecutively right up till the time he died.

He was citizens' representative on the Broken Hill Water Board, also a member of the Alma Sporting Club and a committeeman of the Citizens Police Boys' Club.

Ald. Rowe's health had been failing for some considerable time. He had suffered acutely since Christmas last, but in the end he died most peacefully. Though the Mayoress knew for some months that her husband could not live long and in spite of the fact that early death was foreshadowed in his very precarious condition during the last week or two. It was only natural that the end caused a big jolt to her.

Ald. Rowe also leaves two sons, Jim and Harold. The former is a student at Sydney University and the latter is a school teacher in Gippsland, Victoria. Mr. and Mrs. Harold Rowe are motoring here for the father's funeral tomorrow. The other son will arrive by the Comet this evening. Mr. W. (Bill) Rowe, a brother, will arrive from Clunes tomorrow. Ald. Rowe's late father and brother worked for a little time in the Broken Hill mines many years ago.

Two sisters of the late Mayor are Mrs. M. Hodge (Perth) and Mrs. K. Mann (Melbourne).

Ald. Rowe was a man of most likeable personality. He was a very temporal man— in fact a life long total abstainer.

The Deputy Mayor, Ald. W. Riddiford, expressed his deep regret at the death of the Mayor. He said he had been associated with him for over 20 years. He said that his own expression of regret could be taken as that of all the aldermen. There was no doubt of that. The Town Clerk, Mr. C. Crowley, said that all sections of the City municipal administration regretted the passing of the Mayor, a genial personality. Mr. Crowley said that a letter of condolence would be sent to the Mayoress.

Yesterday flags were flown half mast from the Town Hall, Public Works Dept., Trades Hall, Police Station and other buildings.

Mr. G. D. Harris president of B.D.A.A.L.F. said yesterday:

"The passing of Labor's Mayor, Percy Rowe is greatly regretted by the Assembly and the Labor Movement locally. The late Mayor's popularity with the workers was borne out by the fact of his nine terms as Mayor of Broken Hill and his many official positions in the movement. The president and secretary, together with Assembly delegates express their deepest sympathy to Mrs. Rowe in her sad bereavement.

Mr. F. J. Potter announces that the funeral of the late Mayor will leave the residence, 50 Williams Lane, at 2.oo o'clock tomorrow afternoon.

Mr. Crowley stated yesterday that by law a byelection must be held within 14 days to fill the Mayoral position. There must also be an election on a Saturday within a month of the vacancy on Council to elect another alderman. This extraordinary election to fill the vacancy on Council will be held, if necessary, on Saturday, August 14. Nomination day will be August 6, and the nominations must be in the hands of the Returning Officer by August 4.

Original Publication

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Barrier Daily Truth (Broken Hill, NSW), 23 July 1948, p 3

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

'Rowe, Percy John (1889–1948)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 May 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]


Clunes, Victoria, Australia


20 July, 1948 (aged ~ 59)
Broken Hill, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

heart disease

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Events
Key Organisations