Charles Rowcroft

Charles Rowcroft (17981856), novelist, arrived in Hobart in 1821 and took up a large land grant near Bothwell. Initially he prospered, becoming a Justice of the Peace and a shareholder of the Van Diemen's Land Bank; but after he had an affair with Maria Lord, Edward Lord sued him and Rowcroft ended up almost a pauper.

Rowcroft left in 1825, and in England ran a boarding school and published a novel, Tales of the Colonies (1843), one of the first Australian novels. Rowcroft explained the advantages of taking up land in the colonies, and described the experiences of a settler, with melodramatic additions about Aborigines and bushrangers. Six further novels were inferior, but one attacked the belief that transportation was a passport to opportunity, wealth and ease.

Further reading: ADB 1; C Rowcroft, Tales of the colonies, London, 1872.

Alison Alexander