Clarke, Andrew
b. 1824-07-27
d. 1902-03-29
Andrew Clarke was born 27 July 1824 in Southsea, Hampshire. Clarke’s father was the acting Governor of Western Australia, and as a result was raised mainly by his grandfather.1 In 1840, he enlisted at the Royal Military Academy. By 1846, he was made a lieutenant and assigned to the Oregon Boundary Commission. However, Clarke turned down the opportunity in favor of moving to Australia at his father’s request. Once there, he was put in charge of monitoring convict labor at Hobart Town.2 Then in 1847, his engineering skills were put to use on a roads building program in New Zealand. Two years later, he returned to Hobart Town and in 1851 was appointed to the legislative assembly. The same year, Clarke was made the head of the mounted police force.3
In 1853, Clarke moved to the Victoria colony where he became the surveyor-general.4 Clarke was extremely influential in building the colony’s infrastructure, as extended the surveys and organized the sale of more than half a million acres, especially near the goldfields, so that the cultivated area doubled in twelve months.5 By 1856, he had advocated for the passing of a democratic constitution for the colony. The same year he won a seat in parliament as the liberal representative from South Melbourne and in the following year he helped achieve universal male suffrage.6 In addition, Clarke held positions such as the Grandmason of the Freemasons in Victoria, the first Presidency of the Victoria Philosophical Institute and was lovingly nicknamed “Spicy Andrew”.7
Clarke returned to England in 1859. He would travel to various locations around the world in the following years, based upon where his skills were needed. In 1859, Clarke was consulted about the situation of land sales in British Columbia. British Columbia had been experiencing a gold rush, and the Crown was unsure about what system to impose regarding land sales.8 In October of 1859, Clarke issued a report on his findings. In an Order of Council, Clarke advised Newcastle that the Crown sell off its land in British Columbia preemptively.9 Newcastle forwarded the report to Douglas who agreed mostly with the, liberal views of the writer, except for the payment of sales.10 Douglas believed that buyers should not have to pay deposits upfront, as this might hinder the speed colonial development.11 Douglas thought Clarke’s report applied well to a landscape such as Victoria, but failed to account for the climate and frontiers of British Columbia in his estimations.12
In 1870, Clarke commented on the infrastructural improvements needed for the Suez Canal. He even advised that a British company purchase it, but this idea was rejected.13 In 1872, he was made a colonel and the following year was made Governor of the Straits Colony. In 1875, he was appointed head of the public works program in Calcutta, India. Finally, in 1882 he was named inspector general of British fortifications.14 Clarke died on 29 March 1902 in London, England after an extremely lucrative 62-year career.15
Mentions of this person in the documents
The Colonial Despatches Team. Clarke, Andrew. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. The Colonial Despatches Team. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria.

Last modified: 2020-12-02 13:40:34 -0800 (Wed, 02 Dec 2020) (SVN revision: 5008)