Trinity College and Janet Clarke Hall Honour Clarke Family

On Friday 16 July, Trinity College hosted a special afternoon tea in the College’s Clarke building to honour the contributions of Janet Lady Clarke and Sir William Clarke to the College and Janet Clarke Hall.

The afternoon tea provided the opportunity for Trinity College and Janet Clarke Hall to announce a joint gift made recently to Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT) for the restoration of Sir William Clarke and Lady Clarke’s historic monument at Melbourne General Cemetery.

In attendance were several members of the Clarke family including College Alumnus Sir Rupert Clarke (TC 1966) and Janet, Lady Clarke’s great-granddaughter Louise Morris (JCH 1972) together with her husband Bernard Morris. Also, present were Ms Margie Richardson, Chair of Council at Janet Clarke Hall, Ms Jane Grover, CEO of Southern Melbourne Cemeteries Trust, and Leigh Mackay, Matthew Mills and Richard Jones, members of the Trust. 

Sir William John Clarke and his brother Joseph Clarke, as well as being landowners and stud-breeders, were also philanthropists who consistently gave generous public donations for both the College and the wider community.

The Clarke family consistently supported the College through donations for buildings, grounds and scholarships.

In 1888, at the formal opening of the Clarke’s building, Sir William Clarke declared, ‘No money that he had ever spent returned him so much pleasure.’ Both Sir William Clarke and Joseph Clarke were significant benefactors in the construction of the building.

In 1890, after consultation with the then Warden of Trinity College Alexander Leeper, the Janet Clarke building was erected after a donation of 5,000 pounds from Lady Clarke.  

The name was later changed to Janet Clarke Hall in 1921. From its foundation as a residential hostel for female students of Trinity College, Janet Clarke Hall was the first university college in Australia to admit women.

SMCT’s Historical Restoration and Refurbishment Fund was launched in March this year. While undertaking a tour of Melbourne General Cemetery led by Dr Celestina Sagazio, Historian & Manager of Cultural Heritage of SMCT, Trinity College learned of the SMCT’s choice of the Clarke Monument as the first project to be financed from the Fund.

Trinity College invited Janet Clarke Hall to join together in donating funds to expedite the Clarke monument restoration project.

‘It seemed fitting to us that the College should acknowledge the support of the Clarke family during the foundational years of the College through a gift from the College to enable restoration of the monument,’ highlighted Trinity College Warden Ken Hinchcliff.

As the heads of Trinity College and Janet Clarke Hall noted at the gathering, both Sir William and Lady Clarke’s contributions extended far beyond the College, and both saw their personal wealth as a duty to help those less fortunate.

Ken Hinchcliff spoke about the legacy and profound opportunities the Clarke family has provided to both Trinity College and Janet Clarke Hall.

‘The gifts of Sir William, Joseph and Lady Clarke have been greatly valued and have had lasting benefits to both Trinity College and Janet Clarke Hall.’

Janet Clarke Hall Principal Damian Powell echoed his words, noting that the charitable works of the Clarke family extend to the wider University and community “well beyond the buildings which honour their family name, changing lives for the better over the generations”.

Acknowledging the generosity of both Trinity College and Janet Clarke Hall, Jane Grover, CEO of Southern Melbourne Cemeteries Trust, outlined the unique initiative of the Trust with the Historical Restoration and Refurbishment Fund being the first of its kind in Victoria.

‘Without this initiative, valuable history could be lost to future generations. It is the commitment of institutions such as yours – the commitment to honouring our shared heritage – that will ensure that our common goal is achieved, the preserva

01 Aug 2016
Category: People