Tom Ambrose Bowen was born on April 18, 1916, the third child and only son of William and Norah Bowen. He had two elder sisters, Norah and Beatrice and a younger sister – Agnes.
His parents had traveled to Australia from Wolver Hampton, U.K. around 1910. They settled in Brunswick, an inner Melbourne suburb and Tom was most probably born in this suburb.
When Tom Bowen was young, his wish was to become a medical practitioner. Tom’s father was a carpenter / joiner by trade and he would never have considered any of his children getting a better education than was necessary to be employed. Therefore, whether Tom liked it or not, after finishing school he became an apprentice carpenter.
Tom married Jessie McLean at the Salvation Army, in September 1941 and they moved to Geelong, where Tom found a job as carpenter at the local Cement Factory. They had three children: Pam, Barry and Heather.