Ray Clarke (SPC 1971-76)
November 22, 2022
We send our deepest condolences to the family of Old Collegian Ray Clarke (SPC 1971-76) who sadly passed away on 11 November 2022.
Ray is the much-loved younger brother of Bernard (SPC 1965-70) (dec) and Graeme (SPC 1966-71).
Ray is survived by his wife Margaret, sons Sean and Liam and step son Julian.
A memorial was held at Moonee Racecourse on 28 November to celebrate Ray’s life.
Raymond was born at the Euroa Hospital on 17 September 1958 and suddenly passed away late on the evening of 11 November walking home from being out with friends.
He was aged 64 years and he has been remembered for “the many good times we enjoyed his company and companionship … (and) his wit, his lust for like and his undivided friendship”.
As recounted by his brother Graeme at his memorial, Ray and his older brothers were raised on a small farm on Creighton Creek Road, at Euroa, north-east of Victoria.
“Their parents purchased the farm in 1953. Almost 50 per cent of the farm, some 400 acres, was very rocky, a heaven for rabbits, the odd fox and a pair of wedge-tailed Eagles.
“Dad was a shearer with a local run, Mum tended the house plus many farm jobs.
“To make the farm viable, chook houses were constructed and from the initial build of three increased to eight plus provision for four sheds to raise day old chickens, grow into pullets then laying birds. Peak production – 5,000 laying birds.
“Neighbours told Dad years letter they expected that they would have to walk off the farm within a couple of years. Mum and Dad sold the farm on their own financial terms in 1977 – some 25 years after arriving.”
In turn, Ray came to SPC as a boarder and showcased his talent as a sportsman across various sports, especially football and cricket, and was notably named in the College Annuals across his SPC years.
Ray was vice-captain of the First XVIII Football Team in 1976 as well as the Combined BPS team.
In the 1976 College Annual, Ray was described “as first rover, (who) was one of the really brilliant players with magnificent ball control and a fierce desire to win possession of the ball. Ray won the “Best and Fairest” Award after a great season as team Vice-Captain”.
He was also a member of the 1975 First XVIII Football team, which were also crowned the undefeated premiers of the Ballarat Public Schools competition and was described as “an elusive half-forward and rover, great ability to baulk and manoeuvre into position for goals”.
Ray’s prowess with a cricket bat was also noticed early, winning the Under 14 XI Cricket award in 1972. He made an impressive mark in his first season in the First XI in 1973, taking out the batting award and Ray continued to be an important member of the First XI throughout his time at SPC.
Ray also played in the SPC First XI Cricket premiership team in 1975 and was rated in SPC’s top three batsmen with a batting average of 184/6 for 36.6 runs and also rated in the top three bowler rankings with 102/13 and bowling average 7.8 runs per wicket.
Ray was described in the 1975 College Annual as “an excellent allrounder (and) very damaging with the bat”.
Ray was captain of the SPC Cricket First XI Premiers side in 1976 as well as a member of the Combined BPS Cricket XI.
In the 1976 College Annual, it was noted that the First XI team “a little unsure in the beginning, went from strength to strength, and under the inspirational captaincy of Ray Clarke emerged undefeated premiers of the Ballarat Public Schools for the season”.
Ray was a strong batsman and bowler, with the College Annual recording Ray’s impressive bowling of 3 for 19 in one match against Ballarat College and an equally impressive century of 104 n.o. in another match against Ballarat High School.
Ray went on to win the First XI Cricket award for Batting in his HSC year, as well as the First XVIII Football W.T. O’Malley Best & Fairest Trophy.
Ray was also part of the Squash C Grade premiership team in his final year in 1976, a member of the U15 XVIII Football team in 1973 and won an award for the most improved in the school’s basketball program in 1973.