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Clarke, Thomas William (1860–1945)

Mr Thomas William Henric Clarke, Merino breeder, philanthropist, big game hunter, of Quorn Hall, Campbell Town, died at a private hospital in Hobart on Wednesday after a long illness. He was aged 85 years.

He was the eldest son of the late T. B. Clarke, of Quorn Hall, who was the second son of the late W. J. T. Clarke, who arrived in Tasmania during 1830 with his wife and took up land in Tasmania and Victoria. He purchased Leicester sheep and draught horses, and bought Quorn Hall in 1846, and a few years later placed the management of the estate, together with that of a property called Brambletye, on the South Esk River, in the hands of his son, the late T. B. Clarke.

Formerly Quorn Hall estate comprised 10,800 acres, but the property now contains about 18,000 acres.

Mr Clarke was born at Quorn Hall in 1860, and until his health failed he managed the estate with the assistance of his son, Mr T. K. Clarke.

The estate was stocked with fine wool Merino of Winton blood, and his wool clip has always been noted for quality, and in the boom year, 1925, brought up to 54d lb for first super, and averaged 40½d for the whole clip.

He had always been a supporter of outdoor sport and at different periods for 50 years he spent much time in big game hunting.

He claimed to have the second largest private collection of big game trophies in the world. His collection contained specimens of most types of game found in Africa and American Rockies, except elephants and giraffes. He started big game hunting when 22. He claimed to be the first white man to enter Somaliland, and all specimens in his museum were shot by him with his own gun and rifle.

Included in the collection is a species of Somaliland gazelle discovered by Mr Clarke in 1890. In honour of his discovery it was named Gazellé Clarkli.

Mr Clarke took a keen interest in the Midland Agricultural Association and for many years was a vice-president. He was a generous supporter of the Campbell Town Hospital and a member of the Bd. of Management for many years. He was a member of the Campbell Town water trust. He was patron of Campbell Town rifle club and was a fine marksman. He also was a trustee of St. Luke's Anglican Church and actively assisted philanthropic and patriotic causes in the Midlands and other parts of the State.

His sporting instincts led Mr Clarke to the field of angling, and he was able to do much to help improve the State inland fisheries.

Among many other activities Mr Clarke was a life member of the Royal Agricultural Society. He was a member of the Tasmanian Racing Club and Tasmanian Turf Club.

Mr Clarke was married in 1895 to Miss K. Riordan, of Campbell Town, and has a family of two sons and two daughters — Mr Thomas Kingsley Clarke and Mr E. Rhodes Clarke, of Quorn Hall, and daughters, Mrs Ronda Martin Whitehorn, Berkshire, England, and Mrs Alan Cameron, of Lochiel, Ross. His wife predeceased him some years ago.

The funeral, which will be private, will be held at St. Luke's cemetery, Campbell Town, today.

Original publication

Citation details

'Clarke, Thomas William (1860–1945)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/clarke-thomas-william-15109/text26308, accessed 20 September 2017.

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