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Biographical entry Clarke, William Branwhite (1798 - 1878)

FRS

Born
2 June 1798
East Bergholt, Suffolk, England
Died
16 June 1878
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation
Clergyman and Geologist

Summary

William Clarke, a member of the Anglican Clergy, was an active geologist and a leading scientific figure in colonial New South Wales. In 1851-1853 he was Geological Surveyor of New South Wales and reported on the southern and northern goldfields of the colony. While recognised as the discoverer of gold in New South Wales, his most important contribution to Australian geology was his research into the stratigraphy of coal deposits in the colony, work which brought him into conflict with Frederick McCoy in Victoria. Clarke was a prolific correspondent with overseas scientists, particularly Adam Sedgwick and Roderick Murchison whom he had known before coming to Australia. Besides his geological reports, Clarke published over 80 other scientific papers and was a major contributor on scientific subjects for local newspapers. He played a leading role in the affairs of the Royal Society of New South Wales, and for 20 years was a Trustee of the Australian Museum. His extensive collection of fossils and mineral specimens, acquired by the New South Wales Government, was destroyed by fire in 1882. The Clarke Medal, for meritorious contributions to the natural sciences, has been awarded annually by the Royal Society of New South Wales since 1878. The Clarke Memorial Lecture is delivered usually every alternate year at a meeting of the Society, and published in the Society's journal.

Details

Events

1821
Education - BA, Jesus College, University of Cambridge
1823
Life event - Ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church
1824
Education - MA, Jesus College, University of Cambridge
1826 - 1878
Award - Fellow, Geological Society of London
1839
Life event - Arrived in New South Wales as Chaplain for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel
1841 - 1843
Career position - Secretary and Curator, Australian Museum
1846 - 1871
Career position - Minister, St Thomas's Church, North Sydney
1851 - 1853
Career position - Geological Surveyor, New South Wales Government
1853 - 1873
Career position - Trustee, Australian Museum
1866 - 1878
Career position - Senior Vice-President, Royal Society of New South Wales
1871
Life event - Retired from the ministry
1876 - 1878
Award - Fellow, Royal Society of London
1877
Award - Murchison Medal, Geological Society of London

Related Awards

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Australian Botanists - Biographies, MS 064; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details
  • William Branwhite Clarke - Records, 1842 - 1876, MS 028; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

Australian Museum

  • William Branwhite Clarke - Records, 1841 - 1871, Series 1 and 6; Australian Museum. Details

Fisher Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Sydney

  • William Branwhite Clarke - Records, 1852 - 1874; Fisher Library, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Sydney. Details

Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales

  • Caroline Louisa Waring Atkinson - Records, 1859 - 1908, A4496-501; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Clarke Family - Records, 1797 - 1954, ML MSS 368; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Clarke Family Papers - Records, 1789 - 1879, ML MSS 139; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt - Records, 1842 - 1847, C154 and C160; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Linnean Society of London - Records, 1792 - 1870, FM 4/2699; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • Phillip Parker King - Records, 1824 - 1855, A3599 and on microfilm FM 4/66; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • William Branwhite Clarke - Records, 1827 - 1951, ML MSS 490; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • William Branwhite Clarke - Records, 1858 - 1878, ML MSS 3608; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • William Branwhite Clarke - Records, 1839 - 1903, MS Q371; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • William Branwhite Clarke - Records, 1846 - 1877, ML MSS 141; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details
  • William Branwhite Clarke - Records, 1827 - 1951, ML MSS 454; Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection, State Library of New South Wales. Details

University of Wollongong Archives

  • Reverend W.B. Clarke Research Collection, 1970 - 1980s, D212; University of Wollongong Archives. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Books

  • Clarke, W. B. (edited by Ann Moyal), The Web of Science: the Scientific Correspondence of the Rev. W. B. Clarke, Australia's Pioneer Geologist (Kew: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2003), 1340 (in 2 vols) pp. Details
  • Wrigley, J. and Fagg, M., Eucalypts: A Celebration (Crows Nest Australia: Allen & Unwin, 2010), 344 pp. Details
  • Young, Robert, This wonderfully strange country: Rev. W. B. Clarke, colonial scientist (Thirroul, N.S.W.: Robert young, 2015), 178 pp. Details

Book Sections

  • Branagan, David F., 'Some Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Australian Geological Clerics' in Geology and Religion: a History of Harmony and Hostility (London: Geological Society of London, 2009), pp. 171-96. Details
  • Moyal, Ann, 'William Branwhite Clarke, 1798-1878' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). Details
  • Mozley, Ann, 'Clarke, William Branwhite (1798-1878), geologist and Anglican clergyman' in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Douglas Pike, ed., vol. 3 (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1969), pp. 420-422. http://www.adb.online.anu.edu.au/biogs/A030395b.htm. Details
  • Vallance, T. G., 'The Fuss About Coal: Troubled Relations between Palaeonbotany an Geology' in Plants and Man in Australia, D. J. Carr and S. G. M. Carr, eds (Sydney: Academic Press, 1981), pp. 136-76. Details

Conference Papers

  • Moyal, A., 'With Pen and Hammer: the Correspondence of Rev. W. B. Clarke', in Useful and Curious Geological Enquiries Beyond the World: Pacific-Asia Historical Themes: The 19th International INHIGEO Symposium, Sydney, Australia, 4-8 July, 1994 edited by D. F. Branagan and G. H. McNally (Sydney: International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences, 1994), pp. 172-180.. Details
  • Wright, A. J., 'Notes on the 1849 and 1855 W. B. Clarke Collections in the Sedgewick Museum Cambridge', in Useful and Curious Geological Enquiries Beyond the World: Pacific-Asia Historical Themes: The 19th International INHIGEO Symposium, Sydney, Australia, 4-8 July, 1994 edited by D. F. Branagan and G. H. McNally (Sydney: International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences, 1994), pp. 181-191.. Details

Journal Articles

  • Clarke, W. B., 'Inaugural Address to the Royal Society of New South Wales', Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 1 (1867), 11-18. Details
  • Clarke, W.B., 'On the Ores of Mercury', The Sydney Magazine of Science and Art, contg. the proceedings of Aust. Hort.& Agric.Soc., and The Phil Soc. NSW, 2 (1859), 170-173. Details
  • Jervis, James, 'Rev. W.B. Clarke, MA, FRS, FGS, FRGS, the father of Australian geology', Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 30 (vi) (1944), 345-457. Details
  • McQueen, Ken, 'Quidron Mineral Field, NSW: an Intriguing Discovery of W. B. Clarke', Journal of Australasian Mining History, 7 (2009), 74-99. Details
  • Moyal, Ann, 'Friends, Savants and Founders: W.B. Clarke and J.D. Dana', Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 145 (2012), 54-8. Details
  • Moyal, Ann, 'Creative foundations: the Royal Society of New South Wales, 1867 and 2017', Journal and Proceedings of The Royal Society of New South Wales, 150 (2) (2017), 232-45. Details
  • Mozley, A., 'The Foundations of the Geological Survey of New South Wales', Journal and Proceedings of The Royal Society of New South Wales, 98 (pt 2) (1965), 91-100. Details
  • Organ, M. K., 'Bibliography of the Reverend W. B. Clarke', Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 127 (1994), 85-134. Details
  • Organ, Michael, 'W. B. Clarke as Scientific Journalist', Historical Records of Australian Science, 9 (1) (1992), 1-16. http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/HR9920910001.htm. Details
  • Organ, Michael, '". . . A Small Fish in a Small Pond . . . ": the Reverend W.B. Clarke (1798-1878): 200 Years on [Series of Parts] Part 1', Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 131 (3-4) (1998), 101-112. Details
  • Pierson, Roger, 'McCoy and Clarke: their dispute over the age of Australia's black coal', Victorian Naturalist, 118 (2001), 219-25. Details
  • Russell, H.C., 'Astronomical and Meteorological Workers in New South Wales, 1778-1860', Australasian Association for Advancement of Science, 1 (1888), 45-94. Details
  • Warung, P., 'The Rev. W. B. Clarke, M.A., F.R.S., the nestor of australian philosophers', Cosmos: an illustrated Australian magazine, 1 (1895), 533-9. Details
  • Young, R. W., 'Reverend W. B. Clarke, "the Father of Australian Geology", on the Origin of Valleys', Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 54 (1) (2007), 127-134. Details
  • Young, R. W., 'The scientific legacy of the Rev. W. B. Clarke', Journal and Proceedings of The Royal Society of New South Wales, 150 (2) (2017), 195-206. Details

Resources

Resource Sections

Reviews

  • The web of science: the scientific correspondence the the Rev. W. B. Clarke
    Darragh, Thomas A., Archives of Natural History, 32, (2005), 124-5. Details
  • Clarke, W. B., (edited by Ann Moyal), The Web of Science: the Scientific Correspondence of the Rev. W. B. Clarke, Australia's Pioneer Geologist (2003)
    Home, R. W., Historical Records of Australian Science, 16 (1), (2005), 107-111. http://www.publish.csiro.au/?act=view_file&file_id=HR05006.pdf. Details
  • Clarke, W. B. (edited by Ann Moyal), The Web of Science: the Scientific Correspondence of the Rev. W. B. Clarke, Australia's Pioneer Geologist (2003)
    Oldroyd, David, Australian Book Review, 263 (Aug), (2004), 47-48. Details

See also

  • Science and the making of Victoria, with Royal Society of Victoria, 2001, http://www.austehc.unimelb.edu.au/smv/index_c.html. Details
  • Downes, Peter J. and Bevan, Alex W. R., 'The Reverend Charles Grenfell Nicolay and the diamonds of Bahia, Brazil', Earth Sciences History Group Newsletter, 43 (2012), 9-15. Details
  • Downes, Peter, McNamara, Kenneth and Bevan, Alex, 'Encounters with Charles Hartt, Louis Agassiz and the diamonds of Bahia: the geological activities of the Reverend Charles Grenfell Nicolay in Brazil, 1858-1869', Earth Sciences History, 33 (1) (2014), 10-25. Details
  • Elkin, A. P., 'Centenary oration: the challenge to science, 1866; the challenge of science, 1966, part 1', Journal and Proceedings of The Royal Society of New South Wales, 100 (3/4) (1966), 105-18. Details
  • Maiden, J.H., 'A Contribution to a History of the Royal Society of New South Wales, with Information in Regard to Other New South Wales Societies', Journal and Proceedings of The Royal Society of New South Wales, lii (1918), 215-361. Details
  • Moyal, Ann, with Robert E. Marks, 'The scientists and Darwin's The origin of species in nineteenth century Australia: a re-evaluation', Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales, 152 (1) (2019), 5-26. Details

McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn