John Howard Clark Prize and Scholar

John Howard Clark

John Howard Clark, photo courtesy of State Library of South Australia [B 22103/79]

In 1880, the University received £500 raised by public subscription for the purpose of establishing a fund to perpetuate the name of John Howard Clark and for the encouragement of English Literature at the University.

Originally established as a scholarship, it was converted to a prize in the early 1920’s. 

This is the University's oldest endowed Prize still being awarded today. 

John Howard Clark (1830-1878), newspaper proprietor and public figure, was born in 1830 in Birmingham, England. He was educated at the Birmingham and Edgbaston Proprietary School and attended lectures at the Birmingham Polytechnic Institution by Charles Cowden Clarke to whom he attributed his knowledge and love of Shakespeare. His contemporaries valued highly this knowledge and his skill at reading Shakespeare aloud. His first employment was at Corbyn's Hall coal and iron works near Dudley, Worcestershire. On medical advice he emigrated to South Australia with his parents in the Fatima.

In 1865 Clark bought the interest of Joseph Fisher in the South Australian Register and became its commercial manager and then editor in 1870-1878.  Of considerable note was Clark's work with the South Australian Institute from which stems the present State Library of South Australia and other institutions.  He made proposals to the government in 1854 and with the governor, Sir Richard MacDonnell and the chief justice, Sir Richard Hanson, prepared the Act of Incorporation.  He was treasurer in 1857-58, chairman in 1858-59 and the first governor elected by the subscribers.

Without doubt John Howard Clark was a man of integrity and influence. Institutions which he founded or promoted in the middle decades of the nineteenth century in an environment which could hardly have been conducive to the cultivation of the arts and sciences still flourish.

Further reading:

Australian Dictionary of Biography - John Howard Clark
Faculty of Arts - John Howard Clark Prize and Title of John Howard Clark Scholar

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For more information

Jackie Morris
Trusts Officer
08 8313 5804