Dudley Barrington Clarke
A personal reflection by Russell Morton
The Revd Dr Dudley Barrington Clarke OBE departed this life in his ninetieth year on 8 December 2011, after a life spent in Christian education.
My first encounter with the late Dudley Clarke took place on a Monday morning in 1973 in his office. I had been sent to Hutchins as a Diploma of Education student to undertake supervised practice teaching.
A Maths teacher had broken his leg in the Boarding House over the weekend and Dudley's ‘solution' was to give me his classes for the duration, with no cognizance that ‘student' teachers required constant monitoring. I received very useful experience from this ‘deep end' approach, and the risk-taking behaviour came to typify Dudley for me.
At that stage, Dudley was just two years into his sixteen or so as headmaster of Hutchins, although he had had a stint as Deputy Head and Chaplain in 1959-60. Those who knew him then in his RAF greatcoat driving the old Vanguard had difficulty squaring the persona with that of a somewhat shy but clearly brilliant leader of men who agonised over his decisions as Head.
Dudley had wisely retrieved David Brammall from the Peninsula School where they had worked together, and this team was to take Hutchins through a momentous decade and a half which saw the school enrolment double to a figure little short of the current enrolment twenty-five years later.
Dudley was a deeply Christian man. One of his last gestures to me as a junior teacher was to give me his entire library of Christian Education journals. He had come to Australia from a small, evangelical boarding school outside of Bath in the West Country, and on more than one occasion when speaking at a school chapel service, he was to appeal to the boys to take up the challenge of following Christ. He gave great support to the Revd Peter Atkins at Holy Trinity North Hobart, where his preaching was legendary.
Dudley's passing has brought a whole set of relationships in Hobart society to an end. As Bishop Newell reminded those who attended the memorial service, Dudley was a priest, a scholar, a writer and communicator, a teacher and headmaster, a mentor, friend and neighbour. He was also an accomplished musician, playing piano, viola and cello. Who can forget his duet with Bishop Philip, Say watchman what of the night?
He selected four stanzas from an excellent five-verse hymn by the former Bishop of Ripon, Edward Burroughs, composing a memorable tune and introducing the combination as the Hutchins School Hymn. Fittingly, the hymn ends:
So, when the lives today
Within one circle brought
Are sundered wide along the tide
Of human work and thought,
One song shall yet be ours,
One life, one family,
One pathway still, by vale of hill,
Shall lead us home to Thee.
Vale, Dudley Clarke.