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Member Details

Dr Richard Ryther Steer BOWKER (1815 - 1903)

Member Photo
Date of Birth: 30/08/1815
Place of Birth: Campsall, Yorkshire, England
Date of Death: 03/04/1903
Place of Death: Darling Point, New South Wales, Australia
Parliamentary Service
Position Start End Period Notes
Member of the NSW Legislative Council 08 Feb 1888 03 Apr 1903 15 years 1 month 27 days Life Appointment under the Constitution Act: Date of Writ of Summons 30 December 1887.
Site for New Hospitals Committee No.15 10 Feb 1880 13 Jul 1880 5 months 4 days
Library Committee No.2 29 Oct 1879 13 Jul 1880 8 months 15 days
Elections and Qualifications Committee No.8 11 Sep 1878 27 Sep 1878 17 days
Library Committee No.2 11 Sep 1878 24 Jul 1879 10 months 14 days
Library Committee No.4 30 Jan 1878 21 May 1878 3 months 22 days
Member for Newcastle 26 Oct 1877 09 Nov 1880 3 years 15 days
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 26 Oct 1877 09 Nov 1880 3 years 15 days
Member for North-Eastern Boroughs 25 Jan 1858 11 Apr 1859 1 year 2 months 18 days
Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly 25 Jan 1858 11 Apr 1859 1 year 2 months 18 days
Political Party Activity
Community Activity
Commissioned as a Justice of the Peace
Qualifications, occupations and interests
Medical practitioner. Commenced medical career as an apprentice to the Nottingham General Dispensary in 1831 . Gained diplomas in Botany and materia medica in Paris in 1836. Became a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries (LSA), in 1838. In 1939, qualified as a Doctor of Medicine, and gained a Dip Med at the University of St Andrews. Practised for some months at Bingham in Nottinghamshire as relieving surgeon to the Union Hospital and Dispensary. Visited Australia in the emigrant ship, Shepherd, before migrating himself in 1841. In New South Wales, was appointed as a medical practitioner to the Loyal Union Lodge in Newcastle in 1842, resigning in 1844. Was a surgeon on ships transporting coolies from India to Mauritius and Durban in 1846-1847. Reappointed to the Loyal Union Lodge in 1847. In 1851- 1853, researched tropical diseases in the East Indies. Returned to Newcastle, briefly resuming practice and then went to England gaining an Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians (LRCP) and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) in 1854. Returned to Newcastle and became an assistant surgeon for the Volunteer Artillery from 1862; and a health officer for Newcastle from 1863 and a government medical officer. He held the three positions until 1874. Gained a reputation as an eye surgeon. Owned ships, two of which carried coals from Newcastle to Sydney. Owned several valuable city properties and held 22 acres of land at Waratah. Purchased Bona Vista at Paterson where he successfuly bred race horses. Was a member of the Australian Jockey Club, moving to Avoca House at Darling Point in Sydney in 1873.
Military Service
Assistant surgeon for the voluntary artillery
Honours Received
Membership of other Parliaments & Offices Held
Local Government Activity
Alderman for Newcastle Borough Council
Son of Thomas Dawson and Elizabeth Steer. Emigrated to Melbourne, Victoria in February 1841. Married Lydia Frances Phillips on 11 November 1858 and had issue, 3 daughters and 6 sons. Church of England faith. Buried at Church of England cemetery in Paterson.
Additional Information
Australian Dictionary of Biography (ADB), Volume 3