This directory contains information and documents about Irene Gladys Whiteman, who became Clarke on marriage to Edward Anthony (Tony) on 9 August 1948.
Rene was born on 26 June 1926 in Southsea, on Portsea Island in Hampshire (birth cert.). Her father was from the village of Houghton Conquest in Bedfordshire, and her mother had been born in London of a Midlands family but had fetched up in Southsea by her early 20s. Here are pictures of her parents and pictures of her as a young child. She was an only child, and the rest of her family-tree is quite sparse as well. See the Index-page of the Whiteman lines.
Here are pictures of her pre-WWII, of the family when she was about 4, c. 1930, of her at about 6, c. 1932, with a rarity – her mother smiling (Hannah was 40 at that stage), about 11 in 1937 and closer-up, and maybe 14 at the beginning of 1941?.
Rene was 13 when WWII broke out in 1939. Her education and early work-life were dramatically punctuated by WWII, because Portsmouth was subject to very heavy air-raids during the Blitz in 1940-42. The damage was much wider than the logical military targets in the dockyards, railway junctions and marine barracks. Her home at 36 St Augustine's Rd, Southsea was destroyed in April 1941 (probably 27 April), and then her school, and later her workplace.
Revenge wasn't her strong suit, but she got some by working in the dockyards in early 1944, opposite HMS Victory, during the preparations for D-Day. Here is a picture taken during WWII, and here are some pictures taken immediately post-WWII.
She met her future husband on 9 March 1947, in one of several church choirs they were involved with at various times. That October, she was accepted into the high-standing Portsmouth Choral Union, on Tony's recommendation to the conductor. They married on 9 August 1948. The Clarke name was new to Portsmouth during WWI, but the Haskins line has been in Portsmouth somewhat longer. Here are some rather nice wedding photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Here is a transcription of her diary for 1948.
Roger Clarke was born on 5 October 1949. They lived for some months above an off-licence in Portsmouth that Tony was managing, and where these photos were taken.
They migrated to Kingaroy in country Queensland on 6 June 1951, following Tony's older brother Fred. These shots come from this period.
Rene's mother died shortly after their arrival, and Department of Immigration bureaucracy blocked her father's migration until too late. So they returned to England on 4 January 1954 with the intention of caring for him; but he passed away while they were at sea. Here are the Letters of Administration for James.
Brightening up a fairly dismal period in England, Carole Clarke was born on 1 January 1955. After more negotiations with Immigration, the family sailed back to Australia on 1 January 1956, this time to Bundaberg, on the coast of Queensland. These photos date from that period.
1956-68 was the first period of 'normal' existence that Rene and Tony had ever enjoyed. In about 1959, Rene took work as an usherette, moving to cashier, and after a few years rising to deputy manager of the two cinemas and the drive-in (remember them?). Here are some shots of theatre promotions 1, 2 and 3, for which Rene usually made the dresses! This portrait, by family friend John Perryn, was taken in 1964. In 1965, they managed to build their own home at 48 Pickett St, with Rene at 38 and Tony 45.
In January 1967, Roger took up a cadetship in Sydney, and in August 1968 the family followed. They lived at 62 Roseville Ave., Roseville 1968-71, and in Artarmon 1971-73. These shots are from the period 1971-74.
They finally got back into the home-ownership stakes in Thornleigh, where they spent the longest period of their lives in one house - June 1973 to October 1985. Between 1968 and 1971, Rene worked in the ticket-offices of Her Majesty's Theatre and the Opera House, and in retail. She then joined what began as the NSW Building Society and passed via Advance Bank to the St George Bank, as a branch manager (1971-79) and then as a section manager in Head Office (1979-87).
Here are shots from 1975-76 and 1976-77. 1977 saw Roger and Linda's marriage. It also marked Rene and Tony's return to the U.K. for a 3-week holiday in an England - photos 1 and 2. After over two decades, it was finally, slowly, starting to drag itself out of the mess that WWII had left it in.
By 1982, at 56, the first two of what were to become four grandchildren had appeared on the scene. In October 1985, as retirement loomed, they left behind the city sounds of Thornleigh.
They moved 50km south to 13 Burke St, Ruse, one of the nicest parts of the Macarthur district. In 1986-87, they grabbed the opportunity for a second visit to Switzerland. Then in 1988 the 40th wedding anniversary was celebrated in some style – photos 1, 2 and 3. And in 1989, there were further celebrations at Carole and Peter's wedding – photos 1 and 2. These shots are from 1992.
After 10 years there, they moved in November 1995 to a single-level home on the opposite side of the valley, at 46A Kearns Ave., Kearns. These shots are from either side of that move, and these from 1998.
In February 2001, they moved to Carrington Retirement Village, in the country a couple of km outside Camden, 70km south of Sydney. Here are shots from the 2000-2004 period - 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Rene passed away on 21 October 2004, after a difficult last couple of years fighting HRT-induced breast cancer. Here are two small monuments:
Her Eulogy repeats some of the above in different form, and provides some further information about her life.
Here are a chronology of Rene and Tony's lives and of their working lives.
Tony's pages contain some further details.
This a page within Roger
Clarke's Family Web-Site
Contact: Roger Clarke
Created: 2 Sep 2006; Last Amended: 6 Mar 2011 (27 Dec 2011, birth cert), 6 Apr 2015 (re 27 Apr 1941)