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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/M'Gowan, Samuel Walker

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M‘Gowan, Samuel Walker, formerly Deputy Postmaster-General, Victoria, was the son of Samuel M‘Gowan of Kingston, Ontario, Canada who had emigrated from the north of Ireland, and was born on Jan. 4th, 1829. He was originally intended for the profession of the law, but ultimately studied Telegraphy under the renowned Professor Morse. After being in the service of more than one telegraphic company in Canada and the States, Mr. M‘Gowan in 1853 arrived in Melbourne with the ambitious project of establishing working lines of telegraph to Sydney and Adelaide, as well as to the local centres of population in Victoria. Mr. M‘Gowan brought with him an expert working telegraphist, as well as a supply of instruments, batteries, etc. After much negotiation the enterprising young Canadian scientist was employed to establish telegraphic communication between Melbourne and its port, Williamstown. This short line, which was fully opened to the public in March 1854, was the first south of the equator, and served to form the basis of the now gigantic telegraph system of Australia. From 1854, the date of its formation, to 1869 Mr. M‘Gowan held the office of Superintendent-General of the Electric Telegraph Department of Victoria, and upon the amalgamation of the Postal and Telegraph Departments, in the latter year, he was appointed Inspector-General of the conjoint services. Upon the retirement of Mr. William Turner, Mr. M‘Gowan became Deputy Postmaster-General. He was an officer of the local Torpedo Corps, and an energetic member of the Royal Society of Victoria. Mr. M‘Gowan married, on June 30th, 1857, Annie, eldest daughter of the late Major Henry Wm. Benson, CM., of Kingston, Ontario. He died on April 18th, 1887, shortly after his return from a visit to Europe and America.