The painter Penny Dowie (since 1948) is a niece. During World World War II, Dowie worked in the Military History Unit of the Australian Imperial Force, and as an assistant to Australia"s official war sculptor, Lyndon Dadswell. As a soldier, he was one of the Rats of Tobruk.
After studying art in London and Florence, Dowie returned to Australia.
His work includes over 50 public sculpture commissions, including the "Three Rivers" fountain in Victoria Square, "Alice" in Rymill Park, the "Victor Richardson Gates" at Adelaide Oval and the "Sir Ross Smith Memorial" at Adelaide Airport. He was nominated for Senior Australian of the Year in 2005, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1981 in recognition of service to the arts as a sculptor and painter.
Dowie died on 19 March 2008, aged 93, in an Adelaide nursing home, after having suffered a stroke the week before, and was buried in a country churchyard near Littlehampton, South Australia.