13 Hampden Road
Rosebank was built by Andrew Inglis Clark, a significant figure in Australian public life. Clark was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly in 1878 at a time when Australia was moving towards nationhood. Attacked by the Hobart Mercury as a revolutionary with his ‘proper place among the Communists’, Clark was a staunch republican and believed that government should benefit everyone.
He supported progressive legislation including legalising trade unions, reforming laws on lunacy, employment, custody of children and prevention of cruelty to animals. He advocated women’s suffrage and contributed to the development of the Australian Constitution. He is largely remembered today for the Tasmanian Hare Clark system of proportional representation in political elections.
Clark was a criminal lawyer but his refusal to accept anything beyond a modest fee prevented him from making a fortune. He was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court and played a major role in the foundation of the University of Tasmania in 1889, later serving as Vice-Chancellor from 1901 to 1903. In private life, Clark made plenty of time for his family. His son Conway remembered him under his ‘vine and figtree’ with his wife and children at Rosebank.
Clark was lucky that his father had an engineering business and could afford to give his children a good education. Despite his wealthy background, Clark always supported the underdog and wrote:
The leopard could as soon change his spots as I become a supporter of plutocracy and class privilege.
Andrew Inglis Clark died in 1907.
Generous by nature, and broadminded to a degree, [Andrew Inglis Clarke] was a passionate advocate for the true democracy which means the affording of equal opportunities to all men… Only a few days before his death, he told the writer what a terrible strain upon his mind had been a trial before him, in which wealth had been matched against widowhood and poverty. ‘I am too soft to be on the bench!’ He said, and in that sentence summed up the stress which, in the end, helped to shorten his life. …
In politics, he remained true to the liberal principles which had inspired him from the first. Fearless in his utterances on all public questions, and careless of consequences when he had once struck out upon the course which he believed to be right, he won for himself a character for rectitude which anyone might well envy.
– Alfred J Taylor, Daily Telegraph Launceston, Thursday, 21 November 1907