Sir James Anthony Rowland

Sir James Anthony Rowland

Sir James Anthony Rowland

Former Chancellor of the University of Sydney, the late Sir James Anthony Rowland found himself serving as a bomber pilot before he had a chance to complete his Aeronautical Engineering Degree at the University in 1945.

As a boy, Rowland grew up on a rural property in Armidale, New South Wales. He developed a fascination with all things aviation thanks to this father, Louis Rowland, a commander in the Royal Australian Navy. In 1939, Rowland left his model aeroplanes behind to begin his aeronautical engineering studies at the University, but they were interrupted three years later by his enlistment in the Royal Australian Air Force. Proving himself an exceptional pilot, Rowland became a master bomber and pilot under the Empire Air Training Scheme, which was an extensive, joint military training program involving aircrew from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand during the Second World War. In January 1945, Rowland was taken prisoner in Germany until the end of the War.

Upon returning home later that year, Rowland completed his degree at the University, and five years later was appointed chief test pilot of the Aircraft Research and Development Unit at the RAAF Base Laverton in Victoria. In 1975, he rose to the rank of Air Marshal as Chief of Air Staff in 1975 - the first appointee to the position who had joined the RAAF after the commencement of the Second World War.

Upon retiring from the Air Force four years later, Rowland was appointed the 33rd Governor of New South Wales. He became the President of the Royal Humane Society and a member of the Police Board between 1989 and 1992 before being named Chancellor of the University in 1990. For his year of service as Chancellor, Rowland was praised for his role in helping to pull the University together again after a turbulent period following the death of former Chancellor Sir Hermann Black.