John George Blantyre (Gowland) Gowlland (1867 - 1908)

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Dr. John George Blantyre (Jack) Gowlland formerly Gowland aka Nichols

Born 15 Jan 1867 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australiamap

Ancestors ancestors

Son of John W Gowland and Ann (Blantyre) Nichols

Brother of Miriam Russell [half]

Husband of Annetta Regina Lotinga married 1892 (to 1897) in Kensington, London, Registry Offcemap

Husband of Lucy Alberta (Attenborough) Gowlland married 12 Sep 1901 in St Patricks, Melbourne, Australiamap

Father of Reginald Blantyre Gowlland and Doris Alberta Gowlland

Died 18 Mar 1908 in St. George's Hospital, London, Englandmap

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Gowland-130 created 7 Jun 2011 | Last modified 3 Sep 2017

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Categories: Boxing | Con Artists.

Jack (Gowland) Gowlland is a black sheep because they were outcast, outlawed, or outlandish.
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"Dr" Jack Gowland was a confabulator and impostor; a hard drinker, hard smoker, pugilist and wife beater. See also Dr Jack Gowlland Writes Home
Dr Jack Gowlland's Famous Rant on Smoking


Born 15th January 1867 to Ann Blantyre.[1] Her name on the register entry is Gowland but there is no evidence John W. Gowland married her and she was actually Mrs Nichols when the baby was born. As a child John George was called John George Blantyre Gowland Nichols. [2] At different times he added various embellishments to his name, hinting at higher social status. He added an "l" making his name the same as a prominent Sydney family's. On his marriage he gave his middle name as "St George". Later in life he named himself "Blantyre-Gowlland" with a hyphen.

Gowlland put it about in England that he was the son of "a gentleman who played an active part in Parliamentary life in New South Wales"[3] When he married Annetta Lotinga he said his father was a Railway Contractor. When he married Lucy Attenborough he neglected to mention that his father had been transported to the Colonies, saying he was "of Rawcliffe Grange, York, England".

Jack's friend W.F Corbett (Note 2.) called him "the little medic". He was apparently lively, friendly and verbose. He must have had a good standard of education: his letters are literate: he quotes Latin and makes references to the classics.


According to the "Hobart Mercury" Gowlland had for a short time been a journalist with that newspaper "before he took up medicine". That would be prior to his going to England in 1892. [4]


John was an amateur boxing enthusiast, and was reputed to be a former amateur lightweight champion of either New South Wales or of Australia - (once, of England). Gowlland either perpetrated or failed to contradict this characterisation of himself as a past champion. Despite dozens of references to the accolade in newspapers of the time, the year he was supposed to have won is never reported.

In England, during the time he was supposed to be studying medicine, Gowlland was a member of the National Sporting Club, [5] a prestigious London boxing establishment. He was listed on an NSC program as former amateur lightweight champion of Australia.

In1897, however, the truth emerged when newspaper reports of his divorce revealed him as a poseur, calling him "Mr John Gowlland, who has for some time posed in England as amateur champion boxer of Australia." [6] Although this information, along with his divorce, was published in several Australian newspapers, the Australian boxing world was slow to catch up, still crediting him with a championship in either England or Australia in news items long after his death.

In boxing circles John was known as "Jack" or "Doc". He was called on to referee as far afield as Auckland, New Zealand.[7]

He was a walking encyclopaedia of things fistic
Member of the NSC quoted in London Mirror of Life 31 Aug 1907


The story goes that Jack went to "the old country" to study medicine in 1892. In the same year he married Annetta Lotinga/Lottinger. Annetta compained that, when he was not out late, he spent evenings at home in London watching his dogs torment cats and mice he brought home for that purpose, hardly the life of a medical student. On return to Australia he claimed to have degrees in Medicine and Surgery from Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities. Later he said he studied medicine at the St George's Hospital Medical School. No evidence has come to light that he ever went to Scotland.

It's notable that in the divorce court Gowlland was called "Mr" not "Dr" and evidence was given that he had "at one time studied medicine" not that he had graduated. After the disgraceful divorce he promptly departed for Australia. By the time he arrived in Australia he had acquired not only the title "Dr" but claimed to have been the ship's surgeon on the voyage home!

In interviews Gowlland claimed to have occupied lofty positions such as "in charge of the Cloncurry Hospital". In fact, after a brief stint in Townsville, his practice amounted to a long series of locum positions, just a few weeks each, in remote rural settlements like Burraga and Molong (1902), Cumnock (1903), Dungog, then Gulgong (1905). When he was offered a surgeon's position in Central Queensland at the Muttaburra Hospital, he was sacked from the position before he'd even taken it up, for failing to reply to telegrams announcing his appointment. [8]

Marriage 1.

Soon after his arrival i England in 1892, Gowlland married Annetta Lotinga/Lottinger in London. He was 25. Gowlland had told Annetta they would have an income of 500 pounds a year, (see Note 1) but she later reported that she relied on her mother for her livelihood. They had one child, Reginald, in 1893 in London. Gowlland was sadistic and violent towards Annetta and her child. The marriage ended in 1897 when Annetta sued him for divorce on the grounds of cruelty. She was granted custody of the child and Gowlland went back to Australia.

Marriage 2.

In Melbourne in 1901, Jack married Lucy Attenborough. He was 34. Their baby, Doris, was born in 1902, in Sydney. The family moved to Auckland, New Zealand in late 1905. Lucy had to hide from Jack when he was on an alcoholic bender, and kept money from him so he wouldn't spend it on drink. [9]


John was an inveterate smoker of cigarettes, which he predicted would cause his early death. W. F. Corbett, editor of "Referee" quoted him on the subject in an editorial. [10] The story was reprinted dozens of times in Australian newspapers. See Dr Jack Gowlland's Famous Rant on Smoking

New Zealand

From N.Z. "Star" 8 May 1909

Soon after the Muttaburra Hospital fiasco, Jack, Lucy and Doris moved to Auckland, New Zealand for Jack to take up a position as Medical Officer to the "Friendly Society Dispensary"[11]. The appointment must have been shortlived because on 1st November 1905 the Auckland United and friendly Societies' Dispensary and Medical Institute put a notice in the paper that "Dr. J.G. Blantyre Gowlland is no longer in the service of the Institute."[12] The reason for this abrupt termination becomes clear upon reading the several newspaper reports of an incident of arson at the home of Dr and Mrs Jack Gowlland. See Dr Jack Gowlland, Arsonist.



  1. Tasmanian State Archives
  2. John W. Gowland's Will
  3. The Advertiser, 4 May 1908
  4. The Hobart Mercury: Obituary Mr John Gowlland, 14th May 1908
  5. "Referee" 23 Oct 1907
  6. The Advertiser, John Gowlland Divorce, 17 April 1897
  7. "Referee" boxing newspaper June 27 1906 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  8. "Morning Bulletin" Rockhampton, Queensland : under heading "Muttaburra" 18th April 1905
  9. Auckland Star 7 Nov 1905 "Fire Enquiry"
  10. Dr Jack Gowlland's Famous Rant on Smoking
  11. New Zealand Observer, 18 April 1908
  12. New Zealand herald, 1st November 1905, Advertisements Column 7.
  13. "Referee" (Sydney, NSW Australia ) Mar 21 1917


  1. Medical studies could easily have absorbed most if not all of 500 pounds a year, leaving nothing much to live on. It certainly would not have financed medical studies and Gowlland's bon vivant lifestyle as a member of the National Sporting Club.
  2. W.F. Corbett was a contemporary of Gowlland's, a sportsman and a leading figure in sports journalism in Australia. See [1]


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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Jack by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with Jack:

Have you taken a DNA test for genealogy? If so, login to add it. If not, see our friends at Family Tree DNA.

Images: 18

John Gowland Obituary
John Gowland Obituary

John Gowland Image 2
John Gowland Image 2

John Gowland Image 3
John Gowland Image 3

John Gowland Townsville Daily Bulletin
John Gowland Townsville Daily Bulletin

John Gowland Burra Record, South Australia
John Gowland Burra Record, South Australia

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