Rowland Rees

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Rowland Rees (25 September 1840 – 13 October 1904) was an architect, civil engineer and politician in South Australia.


Rees was born in Gibraltar, the eldest son of Rowland Rees, of Sutrana House, Dover, and later alderman of Brighton, England. He was educated in Hong Kong and Sheffield.[1] It has also been asserted that he was educated in Dover, where his father was for many years mayor.[2] He emigrated to Adelaide in 1869; his brother, Dr. John Rees followed seven years later.

He began his architectural practice immediately upon arriving in the colony, initially in partnership with Thomas English. His work was usually characterised by bold decorative elements such as capitals, pilasters and pediments.[1]

He was elected to the South Australian House of Assembly as member for The Burra (1873–75), Burra (1875–81) and Onkaparinga (1882–90).[3] He advanced liberal ideas, such as free education, the regulation (rather than banning) of gambling, and equal divorce rights for women. Rees was a member of the South Australian Institute from 1878, and helped to select works for the South Australian State Collection.

He was a director of the Holdfast Railway Company, for which firm he also acted as engineer.[4]

Selected works[edit]

Essenside ca. 1873


In November 1870 he married Ada Caroline Sandford (1853 – 12 September 1930), daughter of William Mathews Sandford ( – February 1902), an Adelaide solicitor.[1] They had two surviving children:

  • Rowland John Patton Rees (1872 – ) moved to Perth, Western Australia
  • (Bagot) Sydney Rees (1873 – ) moved to Perth, Western Australia

Mrs. Rees lived for some time with her son Sydney in Perth, where she died.[5]

His brother John Rees, JP. (c. 1849–1893) studied at Guy's Hospital, and arrived in South Australia on 1 April 1876. He practised at Port Wakefield for two years before moving to Hindmarsh. He was mayor of Hindmarsh from December 1883 to December 1886, also serving as honorary Health Officer. He died of consumption (tuberculosis).[6]

His sister Kathleen Rees in 1883 married the widower Dr. James Compton-Burnett (c. 1840 – 2 April 1901), 15 years his junior (so she was born around 1855). She had seven children by him, of whom Ivy Compton-Burnett (1884–1969) was the eldest; there were also five children by his first marriage.[7]

Another sister Elizabeth Rees ( – 1941) married Robert Blackie (c.1852–1936). Their youngest daughter Margery Grace Blackie (1898–1981) was a noted homeopath.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Feeney, Alan (1976). "Rees, Rowland (1840 - 1904)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  2. ^ "Death of Mr. Rowland Rees". The Advertiser (Adelaide). XLVII, (14,350). South Australia. 14 October 1904. p. 6. Retrieved 21 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  3. ^ "Rowland Rees". Former Member of Parliament Details. Parliament of South Australia. 
  4. ^ "Glenelg 50 Years Ago". Glenelg Guardian. XVI, (884). South Australia. 30 April 1930. p. 4. Retrieved 21 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  5. ^ "Obituary". The Advertiser. South Australia. 1 October 1930. p. 17. Retrieved 20 August 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ Ronald Parsons (1974). Hindmarsh Town. Corporation of the Town of Hindmarsh. ISBN 0959879307. 
  7. ^ Judy Middleton. "Hove in the Past: Local History of Hove, Brighton and surrounding area". Retrieved 21 August 2017. 

External links[edit]