Sir Ernest Clark (1864-1951) was called to the English Bar in 1894.
He began his career in the Treasury and was for a time seconded to work for the Government of the Cape Colony. In 1919 he became Deputy Chief Inspector of Taxes. Knighted in 1920 he was Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service from 1921–1925.
Clark visited Australia in 1928-29 as a member of the British economic mission invited to examine the economy. As an author of the subsequent report, he deeply impressed the Tasmanian Premier, J A Lyons. In 1933 it may well have been due to Lyons’ prompting (as Prime Minister) that Sir Ernest was offered the Governorship of Tasmania, an office that had been vacant for three years due to lack of funds.
Clark, who had become a company director after his civil service career, agreed to the unusual condition of spending within the State a considerable sum from his private resources, together with the Vice-Regal allowance.
Sir Ernest was a popular and hard-working Governor whose term was extended three times. He developed a keen interest in Tasmanian history and endeavoured to visit all accessible districts of the State. He was a Freemason and in 1935 was installed as Grand Master of the Tasmanian Grand Lodge.
His work in the State merited Royal attention and King George V requested a photograph of Clark in his uniform of Chief Scout of Tasmania.
Lady Mary Clark was a social worker for the Church Army before their marriage. Together with the Tasmanian Red Cross Society, she started a convalescent home in Hobart which later became the Lady Clark Memorial Home at Claremont. She was a skilled and popular hostess at Government House and her death in 1944 was felt keenly in the State. The children’s library service in Tasmania was for many years known as the Lady Clark Memorial Library in her honour.
In his retirement in 1945 after a record term, Sir Ernest returned to England and settled at ‘Tasmania’, Seaton, Devon. Sir Ernest Clark died in 1951 and his ashes were sent to Hobart for interment at Cornelian Bay.