70th Wedding Anniversary

Michael Joseph Clarke married Kathleen McCarney in All Saints Catholic Church at Kempsey in 1930 and celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary on 22 January 2000.

In an interview with The Macleay Argus reporter published on 21 January 2000, Michael recalled that he trained as a baker with his brother, working for some time at his Willawarrin bakery before moving with him to Cundletown, Wauchope and finally Long Flat where his brother built another bakery. In Long Flat they made and delivered bread and cakes to the road workers who were building the new Oxley Highway.

The Clarkes lived on the Hastings River for seven years before returning to Willawarrin in 1937, where Michael took over the bakery freehold. In 1949, they moved to Brisbane where Michael became a jack-of-all-trades, working as a tram conductor, packing and checking wholesale groceries and in an electroplating firm, where he stayed until his retirement. He had a clear view of the Eagle Farm racetrack from his verandah.

Even in retirement, Michael received job offers. He worked for fourteen days as tour manager for a trip through Singapore and Hong Kong.

In their later life, Michael and Kathleen lived at Vincent Court. He remembered achieving his career goals with clear determination to succeed.

They received a letter from Queen Elizabeth and a congratulatory note from Governor-General William Dean. Michael dispelled the honour with a shrug. “It’s something you have to treasure I suppose, not that I know any of them (the Royal family) personally,” he said.

Being the oldest person at the 2001 Clarke Reunion, Michael cut the celebration cake with Kathleen at his side. Michael passed away on 19 February 2001. Kathleen passed away on 10 January 2002.

Thomas (Tom) Clarke ~ Death Notice

Recorded in The Macleay Argus ~ 17 September 1898


We regret to record the demise of Mr Thomas Clarke of Sherwood, who died yesterday from Bright’s disease. The deceased gentleman had reached the age of 68 years and was a member of the well-known Clarke family. Mr Frank Clarke, our ex-member, being his brother. Mr Thomas Clarke was born in England, but came to the colony with his parents when he was an infant. Mr Clarke was never married. The funeral will leave Sherwood for the West Kempsey Cemetery at 1 p.m. to-day (Saturday).

1896 Death notice for Catherine Walsh

On 25 March 1896, the Macleay Argus announced the death of Catherine Walsh:

Death in the Hospital–On Thursday last Mrs Catherine Walsh, wife of Mr F. Walsh, J.P. of Morton’s Creek, died in the Macleay District Hospital. The deceased lady, who resided some years ago in Kempsey, was the daughter of the late Captain Jas. Barrie, and only sister of Mr John Barrie, of East Kempsey. Mrs Walsh was 50 years old at the time of her death. She had thirteen children in all, nine of whom are living, the youngest being between one and two years old. Much sympathy has been expressed for Mr Walsh and his family in their sad bereavement. The remains were interred in the East Kempsey Cemetery on Friday last, the Rev. Father Buggy performing the last sad rites.

Launch of a Whale Boat

John Barrie
John Barrie

On 18 September 1895, the Macleay Argus reported the launch of John Barrie’s whale boat

On Sunday week a large whale boat was successfully launched at Crescent Head. The boat, which is 25ft. long, 6ft. beam and is 2ft. 6in. deep, was built to the order of Mr John Barrie, of East Kempsey, by Mr J. McNeil, the well-known boat builder of Kempsey, and is a very roomy and serviceable craft. It is to be used for whaling purposes, and when not required for that object will be placed at the disposal of visitors to that charming seaside resort. The ceremony of christening the vessel was performed by Mrs William Hibbard, of Crescent Head, who broke the orthodox bottle of wine over the bow of the craft, at the same time naming it the “Venture.” The baptismal function concluded, six stalwart men manned the boat for its first trip over the foaming billows. The names of the crew were:- John Barrie (stroke), Thomas Maddocks, F. Gill and L. Ainsworth. W. Hibbard acted as coxswain, while P.J. Dowe stood in the bow harpoon in hand ready poised to “skewer” the first whale they came across. To provide against possible emergencies, a beaker of water was stowed on board. A bottleof whisky was also carried, probably to qualify any bad effects from the water. The day was bright and the sea smooth and all went well until the coxswain, catching sight of a porpoise, succumbed to an attack of seasickness. After pulling out to sea for a few miles and spending an hour or two in fishing without any result, the party returned safely to land. The boat, which can carry between 40 and 50 persons, should prove a boon to parties of schnapper fishers, and it could also be used to convey passengers to and from passing steamers.

On 8 August 1896, the Macleay Argus reported: “one of the whalers employed by Mr Jno. Barrie, while in the act of firing one of the guns in the boat, had his collar-bone broken by the rebound of the weapon. He was brought to the Hospital and admitted for treatment.”