William George CLARKE, b. 4th October 1897, Longreach QLD, d. 4th October 1958, ...


Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre


William George CLARKE, b. 4th October 1897, Longreach QLD, d. 4th October 1958, Longreach QLD

About this object

Born in Longreach on 4th October 1897, Bill Clarke lived in, and for, the town of Longreach for 55 years until his move to Sydney in 1952. He was educated at the Longreach Convent, where in his later years of schooling, he learnt shorthand and typing. He maintained his speed as a brilliant typist all his life. After leaving school, Bill Clarke joined New Zealand Loan as Office Boy in 1916 and in 1918 commenced work as a Junior Clerk with the firm of 'Winchcombe Carson'.
In 1922, after some years of selling, he took over the livestock department. He was appointed Manager of the Longreach Branch in 1941, a position he held until his transfer to Sydney as Branch Inspector for New South Wales. At the time of his transfer to Sydney, he had sold the AUSTRALIAN RECORD OF EIGHT MILLION SHEEP. The stories of buying and selling of huge straight lines of Merinos, when they were the order of the day, told by the late Bill Clarke, would fill a very informative book.
People who have known Mr. Clarke have said that as a young man he had tremendous enthusiasm. It was this force which made him enquire from other agents what was the greatest number of sheep ever sold in Australia, and with this goal in mind he constantly sought to surpass all other efforts. With his ability to handle large volumes of work at one time for 18 hours every day, he soon became the record holder of 8 million sheep. He had a reputation for being an authority on store sheep values. He was also a Land and Property Valuer, being a member of the Commonweal Institute of Valuers and was acknowledged for his special flair and profound knowledge. He had a photographic mind for memorising properties livestock and livestock men.
In his young days in Longreach, Bill Clarke was a member of the Longreach Town Band. He was also a keen footballer and was a member of the Longreach Representative team on many occasions, he was also a very good foot runner. He was a member of the Fire Brigade, also playing in their football team. He was a staunch worker for his church and, among many other things, was responsible for the erection of the fence at St. Joseph's Convent School. He was also a keen tennis player when young and was Vice-President of the Catholic Tennis Club for a number of years.
He took a very active part in all civic, social and sporting events in the town and district. At one time it is believed he held positions on 32 different committees.
Up to his death he was still Trustee of the Longreach Bowling Club, of which he was the foundation President. It is through his efforts that Longreach has a Bowling Club today. At the time of his death he was also Trustee for the Longreach Jockey Club and was Chairman of Committees for a considerable time.
Mr. Clarke was also President of the Ram Sellers Association, and was closely associated with its inauguration and conduct of the annual Longreach Ram Sales.
William George Clarke was a charming graceful gentleman. A non-smoker and non-drinker, his pleasure in life was to work for his family, his firm, his clients and anyone in need, and of course for the town of Longreach. He gained great pleasure from helping others and seeing his clients prosper. He was an inspiration to all.
Among his many attributes, he was noted for after dinner speaking. His impromptu addresses were his long suit and no matter what the occasion he interlarded important factual material with appropriate and brief stories that lent good humour and entertainment to the gathering.
He loved horse racing and it was perhaps appropriate that he died in the Members Stand at Royal Randwick racecourse on Derby Day in 1958. During his six years in N.S.W. he became just as well known and liked as he was in Queensland. At the time of his death he was the Vice-President of the N.S.W. Stock & Station Agents' Association.
After he had moved to Sydney to live he never stopped singing the praises of Longreach & District, so much so, that a few years after leaving the towns he returned with a Mr. S.W. Crane from the Mutual Life & Citizens Assurance Co, to make a survey of the possibilities of making investments in the area in regard to conservation of fodder and water. On this occasion a Civic Welcome was afforded to Mr. Clarke & Mr. Crane. The meeting was crowded and Mr. Clarke's speech was broadcast over 4LG.
It was reported by a person at that meeting that "Bill Clarke was up from Sydney with Winchcombe Carson's honours resting nicely on him and, as we in Longreach would expect of Bill Clarke, on a mission of good citizenship. Bill Clarke, the MIRACLE MAN."

Subject and Association Description

Ancestors: Grandparents - John Clarke married Selina Hewitt
Parents: James Henry Clarke married Catherine Theresa Maher
Siblings: Selina Jane, Mary Ellen, Donald Kenneth, Ivy Margaret and Jessie Hewitt
Married: 1st Marriage: 27th March 1922, Longreach QLD
2nd Marriage: 30th September 1926, Toowoomba QLD
Spouse: 1: Priscilla French (died 4th October 1923)
2: Alice Elizabeth Wallace
Children: 1: Marjorie
2: Guy William, Daphne Catherine, Marie Elizabeth, John William (died at birth), Peter William (died at birth)and Justin Peter
Resided: 1897 - 1952: Longreach QLD
1952 - 1958: Sydney NSW

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