Dural and Districs business chamber

dural chamber

Dural and District Historical Society

Who was Rowland?

Rowland Village is very much part of the history of the Galston/Dural area. About 200 people live there independently in the Village part, and in the Aged Care Facility, which is called Mark Donaldson V.C House. It is all owned by R.S.L. Life Care.


But who was Rowland? Some research finds that James Anthony Rowland was born on a property near Armidale in northern NSW, the eldest of 4 boys, in November, 1922. His early education was by Correspondence School, before attending Cranbrook School in Sydney. He studied Aeronautical Engineering at Sydney Uni, but his studies were interrupted in1942 by the Second World War, when he joined the Air Force.

He became a master bomber pilot over Germany, crashed near Frankfort and was taken prisoner by the Gestapo in early 1945. After the war, he completed his University studies and re-joined the Air Force and became a Test Pilot.

In 1972, Rowland was promoted to Air Vice Marshall, and was knighted in 1977. He retired from the Air Force and was appointed the 33rd Governor of New South Wales in January 1981, which post he held till 1989. He died on 27 May 1999.

The RSL had bought 15 acres of land at Galston for a retirement village in 1988, and it seemed appropriate to call it ‘Rowland Village’

Mark Donaldson was born in April, 1979 at Waratah, near Newcastle, and then grew up at Dorrigo, where he attended Dorrigo High School. He enlisted in the Australian Army in 2002, and became very efficient in shooting and all physical fitness.

He has served in Timor, Iran and Afghanistan , where, on 2nd September, 2008 while patrolling , they were ambushed by the Taliban. There were many causalities. Donaldson realised there was a wounded Afghani interpreter that had been wounded, and he deliberately exposed himself to rescue the interpreter and carried him 80 metres to safety and gave him first aid.

Donaldson was awarded the Victoria Cross, which is the highest honour for gallantry . He was presented with it by the Governor General in January 2009.

At the next Meeting of the Dural Historical Society on Saturday, 14th May, the guest speaker will be Murray Radcliffe. The title of his talk will be ‘The French are Coming’. All welcome