Joseph Hines and Marion CLARKE
Husband Joseph Hines CLARKE b.c. 18301 m. d. 18922
Wife Marion CLARKE née WRIGHT b.c. 18283 m. d. 1903
Daughter Ann CLARKE b. 18514 m. 18765 John (Watts) FLETCHER d. 19356
Son George William Frederick CLARKE b. 18557 m. 18988 Marianne CAPRON d. 19169

Joseph Hines CLARKE and his wife, Marion WRIGHT, were best known for being the parents of Ann FLETCHER nee CLARKE10 the creator of the first receptacle for The Ashes, the velvet bag which accompanies The Ashes urn, which is displayed in the Memorial Gallery at Lord's, England.11

A group of Victorian ladies headed by Lady Clarke12 burned what has variously been called a ball, bail or veil, and presented the resulting ashes to Bligh in an urn together with a velvet bag, which was made by Mrs Ann Fletcher, the daughter of Joseph Hines Clarke and Marion Wright, both of Dublin. She said, "What better way than to actually present the English captain with the very 'object' – albeit mythical – he had come to Australia to retrieve?"13

On 28 June 1876,14 Annie CLARKE had married John Walter FLETCHER.15 The marriage notice appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald

FLETCHER –CLARKE – June 28, at St Thomas's Church, Willoughby, by the Rev. G. C. Bode, John Walter Fletcher, M.A., of Oxford, son of the late John Fletcher, to Annie, only daughter of Joseph Hines Clarke.16

Ann died at 32 George Street, Greenwich, NSW, on 5 June 1935, at the age of eighty-four.17

The Ashes Bag Created by Ann FLETCHER in 1883
Courtesy: MCC Collections Online

Joseph Hines and Marion CLARKE and their two children had arrived in NSW in about 1867.18 The 1861 English census located Joseph and Marion living in Christchurch, Surrey, and the record further confirmed their two children, Ann and George. Joseph's stated occupation in 1861 was a linen agent.19 Between 1861 and 2 September 1865, they travelled to New Zealand where CLARKE was recorded as the Inspector of Musketry and a military settler in Taranaki.20 He was involved in shooting competitions whilst in there21 but no concerted attempt has been made to investigate aspects of the family's New Zealand life. An index of the Nominal and Descriptive rolls exists in the NZ archives for Taranaki Military Settlers.22

Articles in connection with Ann identify that Joseph had enlisted with the 18th (Royal Irish) Regiment of Foot and had served in the Maori Wars.23 Wikipedia indicates that the regiment's second battalion, formed mainly from volunteers from the Irish Militia, began to arrive in New Zealand from 4 July 1863 and remained until 187024 although CLARKE had left the Regiment by this date. The Campaigns and History of the Royal Irish Regiment from 1684 to 1902 indicated that the regiment arrived aboard the Elizabeth Anne Bright on 4 July 1863, and two service companies arrived three weeks later aboard the Norwood. CLARKE is not named in the list of officers who left England with the battalion.25 No reference to CLARKE has yet been identified in this history. The Army Lists held at TNA, Kew, England, do not identify any man matching this name in the 18th, the Royal Irish Regiment, although the second battalion of this regiment was identified as being in New Zealand in 1866. No man has been identified in the officer lists from any regiment who might be Joseph. The Quarter-Master, Joseph CLARKE, who does appear on the lists, enlisted with the Land Transport Corps and later served with the 58th Regiment, the Rutlandshire Regiment, however this is a different man, as in 1858 he identified his place of birth as Leicestershire in 1821.26

In Newcastle, NSW, in November 1868, the superintendent of the industrial school, Agnes KING, dismissed the warder, Richard SADLEIR and his wife, Bridget. The Colonial Secretary, ROBERTSON, replaced the administrators of the school with Joseph Hines CLARKE and his wife, Marion, who travelled to Newcastle on the overnight steamer, arriving on the morning of 26 November.27 This appointment was confirmed by the Colonial Secretary in December 1868. It is unknown whether there was a plan to replace KING and also unknown for how long the NSW Government were aware of CLARKE desiring employment.

Joseph and Marion lived onsite, almost certainly within rooms in the building, part of which was to eventually become the Newcastle Reformatory. George, and probably also Ann, also lived for some time in Newcastle although it is possible that the two children were not permanent residents for the duration of the time their parents managed the school. On 28 February 1869, in Christ Church, Newcastle, about three months after arriving in Newcastle as superintendent, 14-year-old George William Frederick CLARKE, the son of Joseph Hines CLARKE and Marian CLARKE was baptised by Arthur E. SELWYN. The record identified George's date of birth as 28 April 1855.28 George died in 1916 in Paddington Sydney.29 There is little doubt that this baptism was partially undertaken with the intention of inspiring the inmates of the school to higher aspirations. The day after George's baptism two girls were also baptised30 and no further baptisms of inmates have been found in the Christ Church register.

Joseph and Marion left Newcastle in April 1871 when the superintendency of the industrial and reformatory schools was transferred to George LUCAS whose wife, Mary Ann, became the industrial school matron.

Joseph Hines CLARKE

CLARKE had been born in Lucan, Ireland, in about 1931. He was the son of George CLARKE and Sarah HINES. Joseph married Marion WRIGHT at the age of about 2031 in Dublin.

The couple was appointed to the Newcastle Industrial School in November 1868. At this stage the school had been operating on the site for fifteen months. Joseph commenced a record of his correspondence pertaining to the schools and this record continued almost until the time of his departure from Newcastle. The register of correspondence containing copies of these letters may be found at SRNSW but is in a very fragile condition.32 The first record, dated 19 December 1868, begins on page 2 and matches the first letter recorded in the 'Contents' so is complete from this date. These copies indicate that CLARKE was meticulous and thorough as the record even contain copies of memos concerning the administration of the school, written to the Matron – his wife. Further details of the contents of this copy book may be found in Sources and within the biographies of the individuals within the school.

Criticism of CLARKE began very soon after his arrival but the reasons for this criticism and the reported behaviour that lead to his removal as Superintendent are many and varied and some of the motives of others within the school and the government must be considered and possibly questioned.

Historically the criticisms of CLARKE condemn him for his kindness and lack of firmness with the girls under his care. The thorough investigation of the letters connected with the girls give examples of these kindnesses indicating that he considered the background of the girls and often factored this background into any punishments he undertook. Compassionate responses with very difficult girls are recorded in his correspondence with Sarah Jane WILDGUST and Hannah McGILL. These records suggest a far more involved approach than that undertaken by KING and certainly far more than LUCAS who left virtually no evidence behind. CLARKE's decision regarding the punishment of Hannah McGILL was not an isolated incident and his beliefs were reflected in his actions.

[I believe] that kind advice will do more to reduce such a constitution to disobedience, than any amount of punishment that can be given.33

His suppression of a potential riot in May 1870 was undertaken by spending hours speaking to the girls, trying to get them to see reason, and he only involved the police to ensure that the inmates were safely confined. In the case of McGILL he punished only after they had betrayed his trust.34

Commencing with his arrival at the school his letters suggest that he instituted more structure into the established routines of the school, wherever this was possible and continued the efforts to improve security to stop the escapes and attempt to limit or stop access and communication with the girls by the public – especially men with ulterior motives.

CLARKE was supported by some members of the community in retaining his position. A personal letter written on 25 February 1871,35 from R. R[?]36 to his acquaintance, the Colonial Secretary, Mr ROBERTSON referring to an article in Bell's Life on Trove. This newspaper ceased production in 1872 and scans end in 1870.37 It therefore seems likely but is unconfirmed that the particular issue referred to by the writer no longer exists. The writer stated:

I saw a very al[?] article in ''Bell's Life"38 this morning about punishments in the Industrial School here and cannot resist the temptation of writing to let you know that I believe that a few designing and subtle, not the harmful[?] parts this time, are endeavouring to get Capt. Clarke out of his berth[?] for their own purposes I should perhaps be unable to prove this but am notwithstanding sure of it
I do myself believe that Capt Clarke and particularly Mrs Clarke do their best to keep the girls in order and to make them as comfortable as possible but they have some desperate leaders among them whom it is surely[?] necessary to control and who knowing that little or no punishment can be given to females have little or no fear of doing anything they take it into their heads to do & others may easily understand the difficulties of Capt Clarke's position. I do not know the ages of the girl who was caned[?]39 or of the one whose hair was cut40 but although I have no faith[?] in caning but cannot fancy that Capt or Mrs Clarke would act in a cruel or barberous manner to those under their charge. I wonder what the writer of the article in Bells Life would do if he had to control such a lot. I fancy he would not think a slight caning or the cutting a girls hair so great an enormity as he seems to in print.
the offences may[?] [?] are now well known and a board or commission would easily allot certain punishments so that the limits might be exactly defined and I feel sure that Capt Clarke and Mrs Clarke would manage as well as any others and better than they who are planning to succeed them.
But we must remember that when taken into the Industrial School they the girls feel no responsibility or care at all for themselves they have not the care of parents the worst of whom are ashamed[?] not to control them in some measure and become often very unmanageable and disgusting – I am not sure that it not a mistake altogether to place them where they remain without any responsibility
I hope you will excuse my writing this very hasty note but I have a distinctive dislike of schemes when they manoeuvre to oppress and this often puts [?] to the trouble of writing and lays me open to the accusation of meddling in what does not directly concern me. however notwithstanding this as it may be said on the other hand that it is the duty of any one or every one to assist as far as his abilities go in any good work
I ought to read this scrawl over again but have not the time. If you were more of a stranger I should not have ventured to have sent it. Yours Truly RR??so???? [indecipherable]

After his resignation as Superintendent, CLARKE returned to Sydney where, by 17 September 1871, he was living at The Osborne, Wynyard Square, Sydney. On this date he applied for a position assisting in the analysis of the Census returns. He also requested that his son, George, might also be employed in this capacity. The Colonial Secretary noted that CLARKE had been informed that there were no vacancies.41

Joseph died at St James Road, Randwick, on 28 June 1892,42 from syncope and alcoholism. He was described as an agent and was recorded as having lived in NSW for 23 years with a further five spent in New Zealand. His parents were identified as George WRIGHT, a gentleman – altered from corn merchant – and Sarah HINES. His two children, Ann and George William Frederick, were named on the record. Joseph was buried at Waverley Cemetery on 29 June.43


Marian died at Stephen Street, Rushcutter Bay, on 14 July 1903.44 Her parents were recorded as Thomas and Ann on the NSW BDM Index.45


Joseph Hines and Marian's headstone at Waverley Cemetery
Jane Ison 2015

Updated May 2016

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