Dr Bauer was born in New York State, and served in World War II as a medical corpsman in the South Pacific. He was a founding member of Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) in 1958. He completed his doctoral thesis in 1960 in Geography, Australian National University. From 1962-65 Bauer lectured in Geography at the University College of Townsville. During his time he began working on a project for the Division of Land Research & Regional Survey, CSIRO. In 1973 he became inaugural Director of the North Australian Research Unit (NARU), Australian National University, Darwin. He died in Queensland in 1998.