man smiles at camera
Image source: Sorrento Surf Lifesaving Club

Vale The Honourable James George Clarko AM

1932 – 2020

But for the pandemic afflicting us, the public farewell for Jim Clarko would have been very large. He lived a long and productive life.


His parliamentary service from 1974 – 1996 was marked by real achievement. His most noteworthy positions included Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Minister for Education, Government Whip and Chairman of Committees. They stand out from a plethora of shadow ministry, committee memberships and chairmanships and parliamentary association activities. His parliamentary service was preceded by local government service from 1969 – 1975.


That is a substantial parliamentary service and period of service for which he was honoured in the Australian Honours System. He was a politician of a different era. An era when members of parliament were drawn heavily from community activists with real achievement prior to entry into parliament. He was a RAAF reservist. He was a J.P. He was a committee member of a number of community organisations. He was an A Grade rugby union player, selector and a coach. He also played tennis and golf and was a life member of Sorrento Surf Lifesaving Club.


Jim worked as a sales rep for an oil company but decided to become a teacher. That was a critical decision. Studying and then teaching history and politics enabled him to extract a deeper meaning and direction for his lifetime political engagement. For a bluff man it was interesting the number of folk who used to find him erudite. A deeply informed conversationalist.


He lived a good, long life. It would have been good to finish it with the funeral he deserved. No doubt in time there will be a public remembrance.


Deepest sympathy to his wife Edith and his family.

The Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia

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