Henry (‘Harry’) Marcus Clark was born in Lancashire, England, in 1859, as the son of Anthony Cuthbert Clark. Moving to Melbourne in 1880, he arrived in Sydney around two years later and was employed by Newtown draper John Kingsbury, the son of former Newtown alderman Joseph Kingsbury. Clark married Martha Anne (‘Pattie’) Day, the daughter of George Day, in February 1883. They had five children and moved to their new house ‘Sefton Hall’ at Dulwich Hill in 1890.
In 1892, Martha unexpectedly died aged 32, and Clark married her younger sister, Georgina May (‘May’) Day the following year. They had two children. In 1899, his son Byron Henry Clark died tragically at their mountain residence ‘Drachenfels’ at Mount York. After recurring health problems, Henry Marcus Clark died on 14 March 1913 at his summer country residence ‘Sefton Hall’ at Mt Wilson, aged 54. He was interred at Waverley Cemetery. Three sons and one daughter survived him, and his second wife died in 1933.
Occupation & interests
Henry Marcus Clark was a draper who acquired John Kingsbury’s drapery store on King Street, Newtown in 1883. His store expanded to become one of Sydney’s largest department stores by the early 20th century. In addition to the Newtown store, Marcus Clark & Co had branches in towns and suburbs across Australia, with the headquarters later relocated to the 9-storey ‘Flatiron’ building at Railway Square. In the 1890s, Marcus Clark’s Newtown emporium moved further north along King Street to the corner of Brown Street, covering 10 acres. After his death in 1913, his son Reginald Marcus Clark, who was knighted in 1939, took over the business.
Henry Marcus Clark was also interested in motoring, and in architecture. He is said to have been responsible for the design of ‘Sefton Hall’ at Dulwich Hill, his summer residence ‘Sefton Hall’ at Mt Wilson, and his winter residence ‘Mt Wilga’ near Hornsby, and for designing, planning or overseeing the construction of various shops, including the large shop at Central Square.
Henry Marcus Clark and both of his wives were active members of the Enmore Church of Christ.
Henry Marcus Clark unsuccessfully stood for the Legislative Assembly in 1891. He campaigned as a free trader in favour of Federation.
Local government service
Henry Marcus Clark was an alderman on Newtown Council from December 1893 to January 1894, attending only five meetings.
Biographical information for this alderman was originally researched by Mark Matheson for the Newtown Project Website. Additional research was carried out by Dr Martina Muller in November 2022.
‘Our Metropolitan Suburbs: Newtown’, Illustrated Sydney News, 27 June 1889, 19, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article63621712
‘Late Mr. Marcus Clark’, The Sun, 16 March 1913, 13, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article228694043
‘Late Mr. Marcus Clark’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 18 March 1913, 8, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15405636
‘Sir R. Clark dies, aged 69’, Daily Examiner, 14 July 1953, 1, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article194254707