Person - Des Rowan

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THOMAS DESMOND ROWAN (1910 - 1994)

Of interest to Security and considered talented by Eddie Allison, Des Rowan acted with the Workers Art Club (WAC) in 1933 in A Night in Spain playing in a spoof of Carmen and the Angel Gabriel in In Heaven; a bystander in Pygmalion 1934; Barking in On the Rocks 1934; Love on the Dole 1935 ; Sid in Waiting for Lefty 1936; Snobby Price in Major Barbara 1936 ; Weiner in Till the Day I Die 1936 ; Schnabel in Paradise Lost 1936; a Communist Youth member in Squaring the Circle 1937; operated lights for Boy Meets Girl 1937; Sixth Corpse in Bury the Dead 1937 ; Joe Dexter in Where’s That Bomb? 1937 and 1938; and acted in Transit 1938; Trumpets of Wrath 1938; Senora Carrar’s Rifles 1939; Sons of the South 1947 and The Star Turns Red 1948 (also lighting designer). Rowan took production photos of Of Mice and Men 1946 and What Happens to Love 1947.

In the mid 1930s when he was fined for selling literature in the Domain and charged (with Jean Devanny) for assaulting police, Rowan gave his occupation as labourer and unemployed stockman. Like other WAC members, he became a street photographer, taking pictures and giving the subject a ticket with the time and place to pick up the print. Such photographers were declared illegal and were constantly being booked by inspectors. When their fines had built up they went to gaol to be fed and housed for a few days.

Thomas Desmond Rowan, born in Dublin Ireland on 27 October 1910, enlisted in Hobart. A Second World War veteran by that name aged 84 suffered a fatal heart attack after being attacked in Surry Hills NSW in 1994. It remained a cold case until 2012 when a man was charged with his murder.



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