• Full Name:
    Lady Diamantina Bowen
  • Role:
  • Occupation/s:
    Governor's wife
    Charity worker
    Public health advocate
  • State:
  • Date first identified using homoeopathy in Australia:

(Material researched & presented by Barbara Armstrong)


[1833 - 1893]


                             Lady Diamantina Bowen

                                               Photograph from:  

                      The Australasian magazine, 18 January 1896.

Contessa Diamantina Roma was born in Greece on the island of Zante (Zakinthos) in 1833 and she married George Ferguson Bowen on 28 April, 1856. Sir George later became the first governor of Queensland, in 1859.


sirgf bowen-s
               Sir George Bowen

                           Photograph from:   

The Australasian magazine, 18 January 1896.

Lady Bowen was an advocate for the underprivileged, injured and infirm. As a result of her interests, she helped found many benevolent and charitable organisations, particularly in the field of public health.


During her time in Queensland, Lady Bowen was instrumental in the development of Queensland's health care services, including the Lady Bowen Lying-In Hospital (now the Royal Women's Hospital) and the Diamantina Orphanage. The Princess Alexandra Hospital began its life as the Diamantina Hospital for Chronic Diseases when it opened at Woolloongabba, Brisbane on August 5, 1901. Roma Street and the town of Roma are named after her, as well as the Diamantina River.


In 1868 she and Sir George went to New Zealand when he was appointed as governor-general. In March 1873 they returned to Australia when he was sworn in as governor of Victoria. In 1879 Sir George was appointed Governor of Mauritius. After a period as Governor in Hong Kong, they finally settled in London, where Lady Bowen died in 1893.


In 1874, fifteen influential Melbourne ladies formed a committee to establish the Melbourne Homœopathic Hospital. The founding committee was under the patronage of Lady Bowen and Mrs Perry, wife of the Anglican Lord Bishop of Melbourne.  Later Lady Bowen was elected as the patroness of the Hospital.


Lady Bowen was also patroness of the Victorian Infant Asylum which was established in 1877, the stated aims of the institution being: the prevention of infanticide; the saving of infant life from the evils of baby farming; and the rescuing of mothers of illegitimate children from further degradation. This organisation later became Berry Street.


The Greek Club of Brisbane erected a bronze statue of Lady Bowen in recognition of her work in Brisbane's Greek community. In 2004 the Princess Alexandra Hospital opened the Diamantina Health Care Museum in her honour.


See also an entry for Lady Bowen in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.


© Barbara Armstrong


  • Created:
    Tuesday, 10 January 2012
  • Last modified:
    Sunday, 10 August 2014