G6 Donald Maxwell Bowering

This article is about Donald Maxwell Bowering, a great great grandson of Timothy Sullivan through Donald's mother Ellen May Bowering (nee Williams), his grandmother Julia Williams (nee Henwood), and his great grandmother Ellen Wearne Henwood (nee Sullivan).

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G6     TS/EWH/JW/EMB/ DONALD MAXWELL BOWERING (1916 - 1991)

Donald Maxwell Bowering (known as Max) was born in the School House at Murat Bay, Ceduna, South Australia, the first son of Benjamin Percy Bowering and his wife Ellen May (nee Williams). Father Benjamin was the first head teacher at the Ceduna School at the time.

Little is known of Max’s early childhood with the family moving on a couple of occasions with Percy's teaching appointments. Around 1922 Percy was appointed to Glencoe school near Mt Gambier. Max had fond memories of his time in Glencoe, particularly family outings to nearby Carpenter’s Rocks. Both Max and his younger brother Rowland attended Glencoe school, and Max was quite proud of his unique achievement of being dux of the school in three consecutive years.

On leaving Glencoe around 1930, the family moved to Mt Barker. Max completed the last couple of years of his schooling at Prince Alfred College in Adelaide. As well as being an accomplished student, during his adolescence he developed passions for sport and music that were to remain with him for life. He was a member of the PAC rowing eight (coxswain, on account of his small stature!), played football and cricket, and received a prize for coming third in the mile in 1933.

After matriculating in 1934 he commenced a career in banking and took up a position in Port Lincoln. As a young man, he made the most of his time there, indulging in sport and playing in a dance band at many locations on the Eyre Peninsula on Saturday nights. He bought a saxophone for this purpose but was able to play many instruments. Although he thoroughly enjoyed the dances, he later attributed the emphysema that eventually claimed his life to the limestone dust that he had regularly inhaled so many years before. He left Pt Lincoln to move to Murray Bridge with the bank, where he formed a lifelong interest in cars. During his time at Murray Bridge he completed his Certificate of Accountancy.

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Soldier Max                                                                                                                                                                               Airman Max
Photos courtesy of xx Bowering

Whilst at Murray Bridge war broke out, and on the 6th August, 1940, he Max enlisted in the army. Fourteen months later he was discharged and immediately joined the RAAF. He was posted to Point Cook in Victoria to train as a wireless operator and mechanic. Shortly afterwards he transferred to Darwin where he endured the first bombing. He was not attached to any unit and was deployed to different secret locations where he set up and maintained radio communications facilities.

(See also Phillip Grose Sullivan on multiple deployments in the RAN setting up and maintaining radar at the same time)

MaxEdnaWeddingDuring the war he met and fell in love with Melbourne girl Edna Mary Layther. When Max was discharged on 29th January, 1946, he immediately moved to Melbourne, and at the age of 30 married Edna on 31st August, 1946, at Hawksburn Presbyterian Church Melbourne.

He moved in to Edna’s family home in Tashinny Road, Toorak. It was a source of sadness for him that he had to sell his beloved saxophone and his two-seater MG in order to purchase a Wolseley Hornet that had sufficient seats to accommodate Edna and her mother!

Max resumed employment in the banking business  and while working in the Bank of Australasia in Melbourne, he continued his accountancy studies and became a member of the Bankers’ Institute of Australia.

On 28th September, 1947, their first son, Ian, was born in Melbourne.

Three years later, on 12th November, 1950, second son Bruce was born.

 

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 The photo is of Ellen, Ian, Edna and Bruce taken in March 1951.

Max had been seeking a bank manager’s position for some time, In 1954, he and Edna made a momentous decision to leave the banking business and purchased the White Cliffs Store in Rye on the Mornington Peninsula. The business was difficult to run as it was seasonal, with winters being quiet and summers being frantic, but it provided good experience for later ventures. Although long hours were involved, Max was still able to find time to be a part of the local football club. While at Rye, a daughter, Sue, was born on 26th September, 1958, at Dromana.

They sold the shop at the end of 1960 and the family moved to Frankston. Max became an accountant for the Tyabb Co-operative Coolstores. Following that, he worked as a bookkeeper for Frankston Electrics and then tried his hand as an estate agent having earlier gained accreditation by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria whilst in the business at Rye. After a short time he purchased another business, this time a newsagency. Unfortunately, the long hours took a toll on his health, so it was sold. He finally took up a position as share manager for the Pivot fertiliser company, which he held until his retirement in 1978 at the age of 62. During this time Edna established the Frankston Handcraft Centre and Max managed the books for her.

Max lived the last 31 years of his life in Frankston, first at 3 Melville Avenue, then at 5 Nolan Street, and finally at 66 Heatherhill Road. During this time, he was a committee member on the Frankston football club and the Warneet Motor Yacht Squadron (on leaving Rye he and Edna purchased a holiday house at Warneet on Westernport Bay). He and Edna also played golf at various clubs. He had a very strong relationship with the Returned Servicemen’s League both at Rye and in Frankston, enjoying the company of fellow comrades. On retirement, he took up lawn bowls with the Frankston RSL, later to be joined by Edna. He became very good at bowls, winning several events with his team. One of the pleasures he got from this was annually when he, Edna, younger brother Rowl, and Rowl’s wife, Shirley, competed together in a state competition.

In retirement, Max and Edna were able to spend some time travelling around Australia, with several journeys interstate but, with deteriorating health, he eventually had to refrain from driving. Finally, after ten years of suffering from emphysema, and having seen all his children married, he quietly passed away in Frankston on 29th December, 1991. His remains lie in Melbourne’s Springvale lawn cemetery. His wife Edna died in 2008.