UPclose: Roving with Rhombus

WITH his larger than life persona and good nature, he’s a character familiar to many.

Born in Sydney but bred in Tenterfield, Steve Cowin - more recognisably referred to as Rhombus - isn’t one to shy away from a yarn but it was his obvious infatuation for his town and its people that stuck.

His infamous nickname comes with a funny schoolboy tale from when he was no more than five or six-years-old. When travelling on the school bus in the morning, some of the older boys would call him 90 (degrees), apparently referring to his facial structure.

Then one morning, one of the kids responded to the comments saying “it’s not 90 - it’s more like a rhombus”.  The nickname was born and has stuck ever since.

Going on to complete his schooling at the Sir Henry Parkes Memorial School, he viewed himself as an avid sportsman and was always keen to take part. This led to stints in the high school football side, the Tenterfield Tigers and the local cricket team for close to 15 years.

The fledgling second rower rated himself, he laughs, but quickly adds, “I wasn’t as good as I thought, most people would tell you that”.

Despite his debatable football prowess, he saw a future in building and when he was given the opportunity as an eager 18-year-old, he grabbed it. Alan Crotty took a chance and gave him his first start and after working for him for several years, he went on to work for Tom Murphy.

Twenty plus years, a marriage and two kids later, he owns his own business.

Rhombus says he is proud to be in a position to give young tradespeople the same opportunities he once received, with five local staff on his books right now. Rhombus Contracting, run by himself and wife Joanne, has completed many jobs in the area, but it’s his ongoing charitable works that are most notable. Recent projects have ranged from upgrades of the Lions shed, providing materials and manpower for the basketball court project and other community projects.

He’s not one to shy away from the events; quite often he’ll be involved in charity auction nights in the capacity of a sponsor or through keen participation.

As busy as he would seem, Rhombus occasionally jaunts off around the globe, visiting the canals of Venice or his favoured destination of Dubai.

While Rhombus Contracting sponsors junior rugby league, cricket and a number of varied sporting events, it also sponsors The Tenterfield Star’s Wandering Star competition.

Rhombus believes it is a fascinating insight into the lives and times of some of our locals.

“It can be really interesting to see how many of the Tenterfield people get out and about the place, some of them you wouldn’t think,” he said.

“It’s usually the first thing I want to look at.”

Always happy to gallivant off on another exciting adventure, he sets off on a cruise in early November, with the latest destination being the Melbourne Cup. Explaining why one would opt to sail rather than fly he quips “I love cruise ships”.

“You can jump on board and see half a dozen countries without really having to leave the ship.” 

While he may enjoy a traipse around on distant shores, Rhombus never forgets his home town.

“I have no real plans of ever leaving Tenterfield,” he says. “I imagine I’ll remain here working and servicing the community until retirement.”

Steve “Rhombus” Cowin can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Steve “Rhombus” Cowin can’t imagine living anywhere else.