Sean Bowden

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Sean Bowden
Personal information
Date of birth (1970-09-22) 22 September 1970 (age 48)
Original team(s) Mildura Imperials
Draft No. 103 (F/S), 1988 national draft
Debut Round 1, 31 March 1990, Richmond
vs. Brisbane Bears, at Carrara
Height 183 cm (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 82 kg (181 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1990–1991 Richmond 6 (0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1991.
Sources: AFL Tables,

Sean Bowden (born 22 September 1970) is a former Australian rules footballer, later a lawyer. He played for the Richmond Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL) and Port Melbourne in the Victorian Football Association in 1990 and 1991.[1]

A Law (Honors) graduate from the University of Melbourne, who grew up in Central Australia, Bowden is the founding partner of Northern Territory law firm Bowden McCormack Lawyers + Advisers [2]. He is also a director of AFL Northern Territory Ltd.[3]


Bowden was drafted by Richmond with pick 103 in the 1988 draft and started the 1990 season by becoming the 920th player to debut with the Tigers. He played the first five games of the season and then one final game in 1991. He was the second in his family to pull on the yellow-and-black following father Michael who was a 1969 Premiership player. Later brothers Joel and Patrick followed as Richmond players.


Bowden is recognized by Chambers and Partners Leading Lawyers guide for his work in relation to Native Title and Land Rights law, particularly in land use negotiations.[4] Active in Northern Territory public life, Bowden has been a critic of the system of governance in the Northern Territory and the way funds intended to be spent for disadvantaged Aboriginal residents were spent instead on urban projects in the Northern Territory capital, Darwin.[5] Bowden’s analysis of spending in the Northern Territory drew particular attention in the lead up to the 2007 Northern Territory Emergency Intervention. Between 2006 and 2011 Bowden acted for Aboriginal leader Galarrwuy Yunupingu in securing a major mining agreement on the Gove Peninsula in the Northern Territory for Yunupingu’s Gumatj clan.[6] The final agreement with Rio Tinto is seen a landmark in the often difficult relationships between Aboriginal land owners and mining companies.[7]

In 2012 Bowden finalized a settlement of a human rights legal action concerning the failure of governments to provide proper funding for education for the Aboriginal town of Wadeye, Northern Territory.[8] In 2014 and 2015 Bowden led negotiations with the Northern Land Council for the grant of an exploration license in North East Arnhem Land, on behalf of Gulkula Mining Company, an entity 100% owned by the Gumatj clan. Having successfully proved up a viable bauxite resource this company now has a mining lease and has established a Mining Training Center that will train Aboriginal men and women.[9] In March 2017 Bowden led negotiations for the Mutitjulu Community situated at the foot of Uluru that resulted in the signing of a township lease over Mutijulu.[10] Later that year Bowden again advised Yunupingu and the Gumatj clan as they signed a Township Lease for the Arnhem Land community at Gunyangara.[11] These town leases that are to be controlled by a traditional owner corporation, are the first of their type in Australia.

As part of his work Bowden acts for the Yothu Yindi Foundation (YYF) and each year for nearly a decade has facilitated the Key Forum at the annual Garma Festival.[12]


  1. ^ "AFL Tables - Sean Bowden - Stats - Statistics".
  2. ^ "Home - Bowden McCormack » Lawyers + Advisers". Bowden McCormack » Lawyers + Advisers.
  3. ^ "Board of Directors". AFL Northern Territory.
  4. ^ "Sean Bowden - Bowden McCormack - Darwin - Lawyer Profile Asia-Pacific 2018 - Chambers and Partners".
  5. ^ "Money spent on votes, not Aborigines - Opinion -".
  6. ^ "The end of Gove's historic injustice". 26 May 2011.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Lesson in how to play fair". 10 June 2012.
  9. ^ Davidson, Helen (17 August 2016). "Indigenous-owned company approved to open mine in Arnhem Land". the Guardian.
  10. ^ "Historic township sublease over Mutitjulu - Ministers Media Centre".
  11. ^ "'Ten years in the making': Gunyangara township signs historic 99-year lease". 19 November 2017.
  12. ^ "Garma Festival -".

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