John Hutt handed over the office of Governor to Lieut-Col Andrew Clarke in January 1846. Clarke, an Irishman, was a distinguished soldier and administrator. He was 53 years of age when he assumed the post that gave him the supreme authority under the Crown in WA.
Clarke was in charge of all the troops in Van Diemen Land at 18 years of age and rose to the rank of Lieut-Col in the 46th Regiment of Infantry in Australia. Prior to his appointment in WA he was Governor of St Lucia, one of the West Indian dependencies of the British Crown.
Unfortunately, his strenuous military service took its toll on his health and it is reported that for most of his career as WA Governor he was "almost a confirmed invalid".
However, the colonists were delighted that he was a married man because they anticipated a revival in social functions that had waned under the single Hutt's rule. He also had a proven track record of success in his previous governorship. Their only concern was about Clarke's health, which continued to deteriorate during the year of his appointment.
Clarke is best remembered for making educational facilities available to the "humblest of citizens" for the first time in the colony. It is also said that his attention was engaged about the "treatment and moral uplifting" of the local Aboriginal people.
Clarke died just a year after his appointment, his popularity reflected in the proclamation at the time: "The high moral zeal and religious principles of the deceased gave promise of the fullest blessings of a just and paternal administration".
Reviewed 2012 - 2013