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Ilfracombe explorer who settled Tasmania should be commemorated, according to historian

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

IN MEMORY: John Bowen memorial in Tasmania.

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AN Ilfracombe explorer who helped settled Tasmania should be commemorated in the town, according to a Tasmanian historian.

Reg Watson said Ilfracombe-born John Bowen played a major role in the history of the island. Bowen was born in Ilfracombe and led the first British settlement to Tasmania in September 1803.

Mr Watson said: "He was 23 years old at the time, having been given a commission by Governor Philip Gigley King in Sydney to settle the island, for fear of French settlement.

"Together with Bowen, 48 settlers made up of convicts, military personnel and a number of freemen arrived from Sydney, settling at Risdon Cove on the River Derwent."

Bowen left Tasmania in 1804 to pursue his naval career and never returned.

Mr Watson said there was a "somewhat neglected" monument to Bowen at Risdon Cove, Tasmania, and it was time for one to be built in the UK.

He said: "There is a monument for Captain Cook in both lands, Australia and England, so why not a monument to Bowen in Tasmania and England?"

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