Letter from R. J. Clarke, October 1911

The last letter from Richard John Clarke exists now only as a rough draft. A final edition must have been sent because a reply was received addressed to him. A revised version of this text, addressed to the Registrar of Probate, was drafted three days before RJC's own death at the battle of Bedfordwell Road.

The punctuation is largely as per the original. Illegible, missing or inferred text is shown thus.

Letter October 1911

T. A. Coghlan Esq ISO
Agent General
New South Wales
123, 125 Canon St.
London EC


I trust that you will pardon the liberty I take in applying to you for information under the following circumstances–

I had a brother EKC who lived for many years in Australia and was drowned in the Murray River in February 1881. He lived at the place or station called Chalonite which is apparently on the North or New South Wales bank of the river as his widow in writing to me of particular's of his death (before her own) stated that he had been across the river on business to Swan Hill and Lake Boya, or Boga, and it was on his return that he was drowned through the upsetting of the boat, he having another man with him who could not swim, although a good swimmer himself.

Shortly after his death all communications between his widow and myself ceased, and I heard no further particulars of his estate or of her subsequent proceedings.

Now it so happens that I have received information of a certain sum of money having being left to the descendents of my father and mother or to their successors or estates. It has become necessary to ascertain who are the present representatives of Edward Knights Clarke if any - whether he left any will or if letters of administration were granted to his widow or others were. I may say that as far as I know he left no children but had an adopted daughter.

In the above circumstances I should be extremely thankful if you would inform me on the following points –

1. Was there as far back as February 1881 any Probate Court in New South Wales or other government office where wills were recorded and probate granted and letters of administration issued?

2. Was it at that time absolutely necessary that a man's will should be proved in the state in which he lived and not in any other state?

3. Would letters of administration follow the same rule?

I ask these latter questions on the supposition that a will might have been proved or letters of administration granted in Melbourne with which deceased was more closely connected than with Sydney.

4. If your answer to the above questions should indicate that no such means of discovering a will existed in 1881 – can you kindly suggest any other way to find out to whom his estate passed.

With many apologies for troubling you with the above. I trust I may be favoured with an answer.

Richard John Clarke

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Last modified: 2011 March 11th.