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Richard Rowe (1828 – 1879)

Richard Rowe was born on 9 March 1828, in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England, the son of Thomas Rowe, a Wesleyan minister, and his wife Susannah (née Jackson). Rowe's father died when he was young, and the family moved to Colchester, Essex, where Rowe was educated.

In 1853, Rowe emigrated to New South Wales, where he initially worked as a private tutor. By 1856 Rowe was a journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald, also writing poetry, stories and essays that he contributed to the press, often under his pseudonym 'Peter Possum' . Rowe's time in the colony was soured by depression and alcoholic excess, and he soon sought to return to England. With the help of the influential literary patron N. D. Stenhouse, Rowe collected the best of his poetry and prose and published it as Peter Possum's Portfolio in 1858. This volume sold well enough for Rowe to pay for his passage back to England.

With the help of introductions from Stenhouse, with whom he kept up a lifelong correspondence, Rowe went to Edinburgh, and later Glasgow, where he worked as a journalist. In 1864, he was dismissed from his position in Glasgow and moved to London, where he lived in poverty and worked as a freelance writer. By the end of the decade, however, Rowe had established himself as a regular contributor to a number of literary periodicals, and through the 1870s he achieved some success as an author, publishing some twenty novels, mostly adventure stories for boys, though some dealt with his observations of the lives of the London poor. Rowe died in London on 9 December 1879.

Poetry Collections
  • Peter Possum's Portfolio Sydney J. R. Clarke 1858
Suggested Further Reading
  • Ann-Mari Jordens The Stenhouse Circle: Literary Life in Mid-Nineteenth Century Sydney Melbourne Melbourne University Press 1979