skip to content

Rediscovering Ginninderra:
George Clarke

Born: 1814; Died: 1889; Married: Sarah Browne(1) Mary Harris (2)

George Clarke and a companion, James Prescott, from Layton, Essex, were indicted at the Central Criminal Court for stealing on the 23rd of October 1835, three shirts to the value of five shillings, belonging to one Thomas Hutchins. Aged twenty one, Clarke was found guilty and sentenced to be transported for seven years.

The Convict Indent records the Strathfieldsaye was under master Philip Jones, with Surgeon Superintendent Thomas Braidwood Wilson MD. Clarke was described in the following terms: 'religion - Protestant, single, trade or calling - stable boy. Offence, housebreaking. Tried Central Criminal Court 25 October 1835. Sentence 7 years. Height 5ft 2 and quarter inches. Complexion ruddy, colour hair brown, Eyes, grey. Particular marks or scars – slight scar on centre forehead, CG Anchor, man with bottle and glass in hand inside lower right arm, four dots back of right hand, two large stars, woman with sprig in left hand inside lower left arm.

The Strathfieldsaye arrived in Australia on 15th June 1836. Clarke was assigned to Henry Hall of 'Charnwood', Ginninderra, and was to work there as a groom for more than twenty-five years. He appears to have been a model convict, gaining his Ticket of Leave in 1840, and Certificate of Freedom in 1842

In 1842 he married Sarah Browne, daughter of John and Esther (nee Dalton) Brown of Yass. Sadly Sarah was to die young at the age of in February 1862, leaving George with seven young children, the youngest less than a year old. He was not long facing this challenge alone however, re-marrying in May 1862 to a widower, Mary Mulligan (nee Harris), daughter of Thomas and Mary Harris. Mary was from Harlington, Bedfordshire and her father was a schoolmaster. At the time of the marriage she too was employed at Charnwood. There were no children of this second marriage. George and Sarah's children were:

George Robert Clarke (1849-1923). Married neighbour Effie Boyd.
John Clarke (1850-1925)
William Clarke (1852-1937)
Thomas James Clarke (1855-1944)
Elizabeth Jane Clarke (1857-1944)
Charles Clarke (1859-1947). Married Emily Baines and lived at 'Arneville', the Clarke family home.
Edward Clarke (1861- )

Eldest son George Robert married Effie Boyd, the daughter and eldest child of Alexander Boyd and Mary Boyd (nee Coulton) from nearby 'Thistle Hill', at St Augustine's catholic church in Yass. His younger brother Charles married Emily Baines, daughter of John Joseph Baines and Ellen (nee Reid) of the Wallaroo district. Charles and Emily raised ten children, and their home 'Arneville' became a focus for the Clarke family. According to Gillespie, other Clarke homesteads in the district were 'Stanley Vale' and 'Boggy Creek'. The story of Charles and Emily and their family is told by their daughter Ivy, author of her memoirs 'As I remember'. She was born at 'Arneville' in 1907.

George Clarke passed away at 'Boggy Creek' in April 1889 aged seventy-five. Mary, his second wife, outlived him by twenty years, passing away in March 1918, at Canowindra, NSW at the age of ninety.

Related Photos


< Rediscovering Ginninderra