Andrew Inglis ClarkPrint Page Print this page

The statue commemorates Andrew Inglis Clark (1848-1907), engineer, poet, lawyer, judge, legal scholar, and principal architect of the Australian Constitution.

He was born in Hobart and educated at Hobart High School, then worked in the family engineering business, but in 1872 commenced legal studies. He was admitted to practice in 1878.

By the 1870s Clark was widely read in literature, poetry, political philosophy and jurisprudence, and ambitious as a poet. 

He was a member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly in 1878 to 1882 and 1887 to 1898, and served as Attorney-General for 1887 to 1892 and from 1894 to 1897.   A radical nationalist and democrat, he favoured republicanism and Australian federation, each on the United States model; manhood suffrage; votes for women and strict separation of religion and state. In 1896 he persuaded Parliament to implement what is now called the Hare–Clark system of proportional representation in Hobart and Launceston Lower House electorates. In 1907 this system was extended to the entire state.

Clark was a Tasmanian delegate to the Australasian Federation Conference in 1890, and the National Australasian Convention in 1891. For the latter, he prepared the draft of a federal constitution. This formed the principal basis for the draft constitution eventually recommended by the 1891 convention. The substance of that draft was enacted by the British Parliament, in 1900, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia. 

In 1897 the Braddon Government rejected advice Clark tendered, as Attorney-General, that ministerial approval of railway leases was unlawful. Clark resigned in protest, briefly becoming Leader of the Opposition. In 1898 he accepted appointment to the Tasmanian Supreme Court.

Clark achieved great distinction as a judge and legal thinker. In 1901 he published Studies in Australian Constitutional Law (second edition 1905), and in 1903 he was considered for the bench of the High Court of Australia, but missed out when appointments were reduced from five to three. In 1906 the bench was expanded to five, but Clark was once more passed over. 


Address:London Circuit & Constitution Avenue, Canberra, 2601
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.283217
Long: 149.131153
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - Federal
Artist:April Pine (Perth, WA)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Wednesday 16th December, 2020
Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au