THE GENEROSITY AND EMPATHY OF SIR WILLIAM JOHN CLARKE OF "RUPERTSWOOD", SUNBURY, VIC., AUST.
When W.J.T.(Big) Clarke was in his last days and his son was building Rupertswood, he was asked about his son's spending and replied that as long as the son had as much fun spending the money as he, himself, had enjoyed making it, he'd be happy.
The following tale won't be found in Sir William's biography. It illustrates that he was a benefactor in ways other than the well-publicised ones, even to lowly former servants.
The Creswiok Advertiser tells the following
pleasant little story : — "Mr W. J. Clarke, who
is sowing liberality broadcast; is not unmindful
of his father's old servants, as the following
There lives on Creswick an old man
named William Pemberton, and his wife, who
left Dowling Forest (after living with 'Big
Clarke' as stockrider for fourteen years) at the
outbreak of the diggings, and here they have
been ever since (about twenty-four years) with
variable success. Latterly, however, things
have not prospered so well as they might wish,
the. shallow ground being mostly worked out,
and the deep sinking too hard work for the old
man, so he thought he would go and see the son
of his old employer, which he did on the occa-
sion of the recent dinner to the tenants at
After Pemberton had spoken
a few words to Mr. Clarke, the latter said, 'Why
I know your voice ; oh, yes, I recollect you.
How are you getting on? ' On being told he
was in poor circumstances, Mr Clarke remarked;
'Well you must have been a good servant, or
my father would not have kept you fourteen
years in his employ.' What shall I do for you ?
etc. (P.2, Mount Alexander Mail, 19-5-1876.)
This discovery reminds me of three connections between the golden triangle and Dromana.
Big Clarke's run at Dowling Forest was near Creswick and he bought Jamieson's Special Survey between Dromana and Mount Martha which remained in the family's ownership for nearly five decades. Many Mornington Peninsula pioneers started as tenants on the Survey.
The article was found in a search for information about Thomas and James Henry Howarth of Castlemaine who owned 30 acres near Dromana.
American,Benjamin Franklin Eaton, who built the heritage-listed Eaton's Dam at Creswick, and was the father of Maude Australia Eaton who lived at Dromana for many decades before she died in 1956, from the late 1880's employed many former Survey tenants at his mine at the Tubbarubba Diggings near Dromana, where he is recalled by the name of Eaton's Cutting, until his death in 1894 at Dromana.
on 2017-06-12 00:09:56
Itellya is researching local history on the Mornington Peninsula and is willing to help family historians with information about the area between Somerville and Blairgowrie. He has extensive information about Henry Gomm of Somerville, Joseph Porta (Victoria's first bellows manufacturer) and Captain Adams of Rosebud.