Rowan Callick grew up in Brentwood in Essex, England, attending Brentwood School and then graduating with a BA Honours in sociology and theology from Exeter University.
He won a graduate traineeship in the Thomson Group, received pre-entry training in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and then worked for the North Eastern Evening Gazette, an afternoon newspaper based in Teesside. He lived at Saltburn-by-the-sea.
He obtained a certificate in proficiency from the National Council for the Training of Journalists.
In 1976 he moved to Papua New Guinea – answering a UK Press Gazette advertisement for “the world’s worst paid journalistic job” – as information officer for the Anglican province of PNG, which had just become independent. He was soon seconded by the church to help run the ecumenically owned newspaper and magazine publishing, printing and retail group Word Publishing, of which he became editor in chief and general manager.
In early 1987 he moved to Australia, working for almost 20 years for The Australian Financial Review, as mining writer, bureau chief in Brisbane, opinion editor and chief leader writer, bureau chief in Victoria, and finally as Asia Pacific Editor. He was China Correspondent for The Australian Financial Review, based in Hong Kong, from 1996-2000.
From 1990-1992 he was a senior writer with Time magazine, based in Melbourne.
Besides his commercially published books, he has also written “Channar: A Landmark Venture in Iron Ore,” jointly commissioned by Rio Tinto and Sinosteel, published in 2012.
He joined The Australian at the start of 2006, as China Correspondent. After three years in Beijing, he became The Australian’s Asia-Pacific Editor at the start of 2009, based in Melbourne. He returned to Beijing as China Correspondent from the start of 2016 to mid 2018. He then came back to Melbourne where he left the staff of the newspaper to become self-employed as a public speaker, author and columnist, while continuing to write chiefly for The Australian.