Clarke family history

Thomas Clarke enlisted in Dublin in the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot in October 1822 and after seven years in Corfu in the Mediterranean, he returned to Ireland.

In Buttevant in County Cork, he married Ellen Walsh in October 1830. Their first child, Margaret, was born in 1831 and died in infancy. Thomas was transferred to England and Ellen accompanied him. Their son, Thomas, was born in Chatham in Kent in 1835.

The 28th Regiment were posted to New South Wales and in August 1835, Corporal Thomas, Ellen and baby Tom left on the Bardaster for Hobart and Sydney Town, guarding convicts.

In June 1836, Thomas was promoted to Sergeant and had short and long term postings in Seventeen Mile Hollow, Parramatta, Sydney and Harpers Hill near Maitland.

Their son, John Clarke, was born in Sydney in 1837 and their next son, Michael, was born in 1840.

Thomas left the Army in April 1840 and the family moved to the Williams River, living there until 1856. Catherine was born in 1842, Agnes in 1844 and Mary Anne in 1846. William was born in 1849 and Joseph in 1851.

Thomas purchased 89 acres of land from the Australian Agricultural Company in 1856 and the family moved shortly after. It was here that their last son, Francis Clarke, was born in 1857.

When the Robertson Land Acts opened up land to selectors, John and Tom travelled north to the Macleay Valley. They selected and cleared land for crops and cattle production. The family moved in 1866 and quickly settled into the community.

Thomas bought and sold land, and leased the Cullatin run with his son, Michael, where they raised cattle.

Ellen and Thomas bought land on the corner of Elbow and River Streets in Kempsey and moved there around 1880. He continued working with cattle and the younger boys, William and Joseph, ran the Sherwood properties.

Thomas died in 1882 and Ellen died in 1891. They are both buried in West Kempsey Cemetery.