Mark Dowler was born in 1965. Growing up in Campbelltown, an outer western suburb of Sydney, he worked in the family Garden Centre on weekends and during school holidays, developing an interest in horticulture and the great outdoors. After finishing school he attended the University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury, completing three courses, including a Masters Degree in Applied Science. Working in different roles in the field of horticulture for 20 years, he had a major career change in 2004, when he became a train driver. Now living in Wollongong with his wife Vicky, he drives passenger trains for NSW Trains and still maintains an interest in horticulture and enjoys bushwalking, fishing, gardening and reading.