Dr Charles Roderick Curwen was born in Cumberland, England and educated at Harrow before attending Mons Officer Cadet School in 1964 and serving in the 11th Hussars (P.A.O.). In 1967 as a Captain he was posted to Melbourne, Australia as ADC to the then Governor of Victoria Sir Rohan Delacombe. At the conclusion of his tour of duty as ADC he left the British Army, became an Australian citizen and remained at Government House where he has served nine Governors in the role of Private Secretary (1976-84) and as Official Secretary and Chief Administrator of the Office of Governor since 1984 during the term of ten Premiers.
He was awarded the OBE in 1977, the LVO in 1988, C. St.J. in 1992, the CVO in 1998 and was made a Doctor of Laws honoris causa of Monash University in 1998.
In February 2003 he joined the Board of the Howard Florey Institute and was appointed a Governor of the Florey Neuroscience Institute in 2007.
Dr Curwen has extensive links to China. In 2008 he was awarded Honorary Citizenship of Jiangsu Province, and in February 2009 he was inducted as an Advisory Professor at Southeast University, Nanjing. Since 2004 his position as Official Secretary was enhanced to provide an advisory and “Ambassadorial role” to the Premier and Government in trade, investment and biotechnology, especially in North Asia and the United States of America. Mr. Curwen has been a Director of the Australia China Business Council (Victoria) since 2009.
He was also the representative of the State of Victoria on the Order of Australia Council, first appointed in 2000.
He has been a Councillor of Monash University from 2005 to 2011, and also served on the Monash University Malaysia Board.
He is a fellow of the Victorian Division of The Institute of Public Administration, Australia.
In May 2017 by The Queen's Command he was appointed as an Extra Equerry to The Queen.