Articles-People Of Aust




Rowan Barber, aged 39, lives in the inner city of Brisbane.  Rowan has a special reason for participating in the Leukaemia Foundation’s ‘World Greatest Shave’ event these past two years.  “A couple of years ago my older brother was diagnosed with lymphoma,” explains Rowan.  Rowan Barber - Before the shave for the World Greatest Shave, photo taken by Chrissy Layton, AusNotebook Music & Creative. Rowan Barber - After the shave for the World Greatest Shave, photo taken by Chrissy Layton, AusNotebook Music & Creative.
  Before the shave    After the shave - Rowan found
   his newly shave head excluded
   him from some nightclubs.

After Rowan's brother had his first treatment of chemotherapy he ended up in remission.  "My brother and people like him often remain in a kind of limbo between their remission and full recovery.  He doesn’t let cancer interfere with his life.  He just gets on with it and doesn’t complain.  My brother suffers in silence but he does not make a big deal of it.  He does not utilise any Foundations but he has given me an awareness of cancer.  He is quite independent and likes to deal with his own problems himself," says Rowan.

Last year when studying at QUT, Rowan met the marketing manager for the Leukaemia Foundation. Rowan then decided to participate in the shave.   The Leukaemia Foundation is focused on helping families with members suffering with leukaemia.  “Often it is more known for children to get it (leukaemia).  Children living in the remote rural areas will often need to come to regional centres for treatment.  The Leukaemia Foundation provides accommodation, information and education, and it assists the children with leukaemia and their families to cope with the situation,” Rowan informs me.    This year Rowan has already raised $380 for the Leukaemia Foundation, and he is still hoping to raise more funds. 

Rowan is also a Champion for WaterAid Australia It was through the initiative of his friend that Rowan acquired the idea how to support both causes, the Leukaemia Foundation and WaterAid.  “During the lead-up to ‘World and Water Day’ a friend of mine in the UK sold a glass of water on e-bay.  He was demonstrating the costs for water under various circumstances and in various countries,” explains Rowan.  “For some people water is priceless.   We are now competing, trying to come up with creative ways to raise awareness and funds for WaterAid.”   From this incident Rowan decided to utilise his shaved head-space from the Leukaemia Foundation's ‘World’s Greatest Shave’  by auctioning on e-bay ‘advertising space’ on his newly shaved head.  Funds raised will go to WaterAid Australia.

AusNotebook Music & Creative won the bidding for Rowan's head-space!  “I have mixed feelings about AusNotebook winning the bid for my head-space,” says Rowan.  “I am glad that AusNotebook won it as it is an entity that supports good causes and the Australian music industry.  However, I would have loved to have seen something more focused on the ‘water and sanitation’ side,  or one of those big companies that have money to burn or to donate to the cause.  That was the original intent, but I am quite happy with the outcome.  The actual auction itself was insignificant in the scheme of the raising awareness and really giving it a plug for causes.”

Even at the young age of seven, Rowan had ambitions similar to WaterAid’s goals.  At Sunday school Rowan would sit and listen to the Missionaries explaining about poor people in underdeveloped countries.  “I didn’t want to go and save them (poor people), I just wanted to give them something to drink and help them with water for growing crops.  That’s what got me into the profession I am now in,” says Rowan.   At 17, Rowan started studying for his engineering degree and 32 years later (being 39 now) he is doing the work he always dreamed of doing. Rowan works for an employee owned, multinational engineering consultancy.  He is involved in the provision of water and sanitation for developing communities.  "I cannot change the world but water and sanitation can make a world of difference in a community which lacks it," comments Rowan.

Rowan participated in the charity event  Crewsin’ the Streams - rowing regatta, which aims to  raise awareness and funds for  Life Stream Foundation.   Rowan won 'best  costume' on the day. 

Rowan Barber at Crewsin' the Streams


Rowan  met the Lady Mayoress,  Lisa Newman with AusNotebook’s logo proudly displayed on his elk antlers.

Rowan Barber at Crewsin' the Streams

There are many other causes for which Rowan is passionate.  He is an advocate for women, youth and those in extreme poverty.  Rowan is on the executive committees of a number of special interest groups within the Australian Water Association and Engineers without Borders.  He is also involved with a consortia of pilots, putting together a flying hospital operating theatre. 

“I’m involved in multiple things.  I generate energy in one source which is synergistic.  I connect through networks, franchising concepts and ideas, so I am not reinventing the wheel,” justifies Rowan.  “These projects all give me a focus for my energies, and an outlet for my altruism.  When it comes to the crunch, I do altruistic deeds almost out of an irrational sense of guilt because of how good my life is and how much I appreciate living in Australia.” 

Rowan has another reason for his positive on-look on life.  Last October he was run over by a seven and half tonne truck. “You come out of a near death experience thinking, ‘I should not be here’ I broke my tibia, I had all my internal organs bruised, but none of them ruptured.  Damage to any one of those internal organs would have been the death of me,” he says.

Post accident, now Rowan doesn't take anything for granted. “I celebrate life!  If I get a pain in my knee I celebrate that, as it reminds me that I am alive!” laughs Rowan.  “So I really try to optimise what I do and do what is important to me.”

Rowan Barber strives for multiple purposes that can only make the world a better place.  He is a sincere, enthusiastic and energetic person who loves life.  Rowan will no doubt continue his various undertakings with admirable strength, working towards his goals.  He will continue travelling the various paths that life’s journeys will take him to achieve these outcomes. 

Article written by Chrissy Layton, AusNotebook Music & Creative (13/6/06)  

You can still sponsor Rowan for the Leukaemia Foundation by going to link www.secure.worldsgreatestshave.com/wgs/pages/frm_sponsor.asp     
Search for Rowan by his name and state: Rowan Barber of QLD.
A tax deductible receipt will be sent to you once your sponsorship has been processed.
WaterAid Australia:              www.wateraid.org.au
Engineers Without Borders:    www.ewb.org.au
Life Stream Foundation: www.lifestream.org.au
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