Rowcroft was educated at Eton, after which he went to Hobart Town, Australia, in 1821 and took up a grant of 2,000 acres (8 km2), near Bothwell, where he was one of the first European settlers along with his brother Horace. In 1822 he was mad a justice of the peace, he was also a member of the committee of the Agricultural Society of Van Diemen's Land and an original shareholder of the Van Diemen's Land Bank. He unsuccessfully applied for the position of colonial secretary in 1823. In 1824 he was sued, successfully, for a criminal conversation, by Edward Lord, with damages of £100 awarded against Rowcroft. He returned to England in 1826.
In 1827 Rowcroft bought a boarding school in Streatham, London.
In 1843 he published Tales of the Colonies, the fist Australian novel of the immigrant genre, followed by The Bushranger of Van Diemen's Land (1846). Another of his novels, An Emigrant in Search of a Colony (1851), is also connected with Australia.
Rowcroft was appointed the first British consul to Cincinnatii in 1852. He sailed from New York to return to England on 17 August 1856 but died at sea on 23 August. He was survived by his wife and two daughters and three sons.
- Hadgraft, Cecil; Horner, J. C. "Rowcroft, Charles (1798–1856)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
- The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature, second edition, 1994, Oxford University Press.
- Australian Dictionary of Biography
- Works by Charles Rowcroft at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Charles Rowcroft at Internet Archive