A painter of Impressionism, set designer and teacher, John Thomas Rowell was born at Carlton, Melbourne, to George Rowell, a butcher, and his wife Margaret, née Nightingale. His first school was Faraday Street State School, Carlton.
John Rowell worked at the King's Theatre, Melbourne in 1908, and then apprenticed to a scene-painter. He also studied art at West Melbourne Technical School and at the National Gallery School, in 1912-17. He married, Eugenie Bertha Durran, also a student at the school.
Rowell was a teacher at West Melbourne Technical School and at Ballarat School of Mines. From 1929 to 1947, he was senior painting master at Melbourne Technical College.&nb
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