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Clark (Lynch), Mrs Emily

Emily Clark (nee Lynch) was born at Wagga on 27 December 1870. She became a probationary pupil-teacher just before turning 15, at Mount McDonald School near Cowra in 1884. She was permanently appointed here in 1888, and promoted to Class 3 in 1889. Over the next eight years, she was in charge of one-teacher bush schools at Narromine, Walla Walla, Overton and Harefield.

On 2 November 1898, at Junee, she married James H Clark and in subsequent years had three children: Kathleen, Juanita and James. In July 1899, she was appointed to take charge of Warham, near Yass. The next year, as Warham lacked sufficient pupils to be full-time, she became teacher of Warham and Euralie half-time schools for a year. When Warham closed in 1901, she became the full-time teacher at Euralie until March 1907.

At the time of her appointment to Wee Jasper, on 29 April 1907, Clark had been teaching at Old Jeremiah Creek School for about seven weeks. She had to support her children and herself, and as she had trouble finding accommodation she boarded at Wee Jasper, first with Mrs Styles who was a personal friend of hers.

Early in 1908 there was an outbreak of measles at the school that affected most families, including Clark's children. With two and later three of her children, she was boarding with Mrs John Carey who found it difficult to continue to board her, as Clark wrote in March 1908: '(Mrs Carey) has too much work to do. There are 15 of us living together here and she does all the cooking. So you can see that boarding me and my two children considerably adds to her burden. We have had measles in the house ever since Christmas holidays, one or sometimes two patients at a time, till everyone except myself have been sick, the last one is down now, I find living like this very trying'.

Apparently Clark continued to board at the Carey's, probably until 1909 when Clark - with the assistance of the residents who had applied unsuccessfully for the Department to build a teacher's residence – built a slab house with hessian ceiling in the school grounds so that she could live in it and move her furniture into it. Until then, she had had to leave her furniture at Euralie School where she had taught before being appointed to Old Jeremiah Creek and then to Wee Jasper in 1907.

In a petition for a residence at the school, twelve local residents had written that 'Settlement is steadily spreading in the district, the presence of the Weir operations will have the effect of bringing more families about as time goes on'. Clark went on leave for the last three months of 1911, and on 29 September local residents W Mcalister and FC Faulder wrote to the Minister requesting a temporary teacher in her absence. Mcalister added: 'some of the families will have to leave because they will have their home Submerged by the Barren Jack dam and is very probably they will have no school near their new home'.

World War 1

On 16 July 1915 Clark made an unsuccessful application to the Department 'to hold a dance in my school in aid of Mother's (sic) ₤30,000 Fund. There is no other suitable room about. We have not decided on the date yet but probably it will be held a week before or a week after Australia Day, to prevent a clash with celebrations in the neighbourhood'.

Again on 6 September of that year, Clark applied 'to hold a social in the Schoolroom on the 22nd of this month to enable us to supply warm clothing for our local boys who have gone to the front, and also in aid of Red Cross. I will have every care taken of the furniture and have everything ready for school next morning. The social would take the form of a Euchre party and a couple of hours dancing afterwards. Will you kindly let me know as soon as possible for if we do not have it on the 22nd inst. we could not arrange anything until the first week in October, and it is getting so late and we are anxious to get our parcels away'.

Approval was given for 'such part of the programme as will not require removal of the desks'.

Inspector praises Clark's running of the school

Inspector Lewis Henry inspected the school in 1915 and afterwards wrote that he found Clark's work 'exceedingly satisfactory. The plain needlework done by her pupils is excellent – it is the best I have seen in this district'.

Repairs to the school

When Henry inspected the school in 1916, Clark asked to have some repairs done and he asked her to get tenders for the work. On 22 September she reported that she had tried to do this 'but men are very busy preparing for shearing'. The work was done later that year by local resident, W Mcalister.

Scarlet fever and whooping cough

Clark reported in June 1917 that the Carey family and then the Faulder family were suffering from scarlet fever, and that in September of that year 'Mrs Davis and Mrs Edwards sent me word that their children have Whooping Cough'.

Emily Clark leaves and Winifred Harmer is temporarily in charge of the school

In September 1917 Clark applied for an assistant teacher's position which involved a drop in salary. She wrote to the chief inspector: 'I hope you will not appoint me further out than Temora or Parkes for I will be able to get a place with a reasonable amount of comfort. Perhaps by Christmas there will be a vacancy at Temora. I am very anxious to go there, as my sister and brother-in-law can help me in getting a house and in many other things'.

She was appointed to Temora School the following month. She sold the house in which she had been living in the school ground at Wee Jasper to the Department for ₤60.

Information about her later career is yet to be found. She died on 7 January 1942, aged 71, at her daughter's residence in Old South Head Road, Rose Bay.

Related Photos

Teacher Emily Clark
Teacher Emily Clark


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