About us

Manning Clark House is a not-for-profit organisation supporting history, literature, culture and human rights.

It aims to promote and encourage vigorous discussion and debate on all issues of public, cultural and academic importance.

Manning Clark House hosts public addresses, debates, forums, art exhibitions, book launches, poetry readings and other gatherings in the former home of Manning and Dymphna Clark in Forrest, Canberra. The venue can also be hired.

Fine artists, poets and scholars are appointed as residential fellows either through winning one of our prizes or scholarships or on the basis of open application.  It supports the Aboriginal community through its Indigenous fellowships.

Manning Clark House is funded by donations and membership fees, as well as grants from Melbourne University, the Australian National University, and philanthropic organisations.

Manning Clark House values its members, patrons and sponsors. As a non government organisation, which receives no ongoing government funding, the organising committee deeply appreciate donations and contributions from its membership.

About Manning and Dymphna Clark

Professor Charles Manning Hope Clark  (1915 – 1991)

Born in Sydney 1915, Manning Clark won scholarships to Melbourne Grammar School and the University of Melbourne. He later attended Balliol College, Oxford, and in the early 1940s taught history at schools in England and in Australia. He was a senior lecturer a the University of Melbourne and, later Professor of History in the School of General Studies, Australian National University. In 1972 he became the first Professor of Australian History and had honourary doctorates awarded by the University of Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney.

In June 1975 Manning Clark was made a Companion of the Order of Australia, in recognition of his writing of A History of Australia in six volumes, and was named Australian of the Year in 1980. Professor Clark died in May 1991.

More biographical information

Guide to the papers of Manning Clark in the National Library of Australia

Hilma Dymphna Clark (1916 – 2000)

Dymphna Clark was born in Melbourne of Swedish and Flemish parents, from whom she inherited an extraordinary discipline and energy, and a love of European literature, food and music.

She completed honours at Melbourne University, where her father Augustin was Head of Germanic Languages, and then travelled to Germany as the 1938 Humboldt scholar. As the Nazi regime continued to rise she abandoned her doctoral studies and reunited with Manning Clark in Oxford, marrying him there in 1939. She had six children In addition to maintaining a large household she provided invaluable assistance to her husband’s greatest works by editing, proof reading and research.

Dymphna Clark was a distinguished scholar in her own right. She was fluent in eight languages, could “get by” in another four, and lectured in German at the ANU. She established Manning Clark House, and enlivened the community with a passion for the environment. She was a driving force behind the formation of the Aboriginal Treaty Committee and drafted the Council’s preamble for review by Parliament.

Dymphna Clark’s major work is the translation of the botanist Charles Baron von Hugel’s New Holland Journals 1833 – 34.

Manning Clark lecture series

An address by an eminent public figure is hosted in the annual Manning Clark lecture series.

2019 – David Thodey

2018 – Chris Ulhmann

2017 – Professor Brian Schmidt

2016 – George Meglogenis

2015 – Richard Denniss

2014 – Geoff Gallop

2013 – Germaine Greer

2012 – Ramona Koval

2011 – Gareth Evans

2010 – Chris Masters

2009 – Robyn Archer

2008 – Julian Burnside QC

2007 – Barry Jones

2006 – Frank Brennan

2005 – Hugh Mackay

2004 – Sir Gustav Nossal

2003 – Judy Davis

2002 – Paul Keating

2001 – The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

2000 – Janet Holmes a Court


Barry Jones is a thinker, particularly about the future of science education. He was the first radio talk-back man, and a member of the Australian Film Development Corporation. Barry has been the federal minister for Science, Technology, Small business and Customs. Currently he is exploring Australia’s future in relation to knowledge.

David Malouf is a teacher, writer and cultural commentator. He has taught English in England and at Sydney University. As a writer he has been well known with such works as Johnno, An Imaginary Life, and Remembering Babylon. His lectures are always impeccably delivered.

Hon Sir Gerard Brennan ACKBE is a lawyer and judge. He was educated in catholic schools and was President of the National Union of Australian University Students. He was a High Court Judge and member of the Australian Law Reform Commission.

Emeritus Professor Ingrid Moses AO.  Her career spanned 28 years in higher education in four Australian universities: University of Queensland where she also gained her PhD, University of Technology, Sydney, University of Canberra, and as Vice-Chancellor of the University of New England and Chancellor of the University of Canberra. She was awarded honorary doctorates from the UTS and California State University, Sacramento for her research and development work in higher education and contribution to international education as President of the International Association of University Presidents. She is now engaged on boards of a variety of not-for-profit organisations.

Jack Mundey is a conservationist and union leader. He has spent a considerable amount of time working towards the preservation of Australia’s heritage and countryside, often in conjunction with his work as a union leader.

Janet Holmes à Court AC is a businesswoman and supporter of the arts. She has been chairman of the board of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, Chancellor of the University of Western Australia and a Director of Heytesbury Holdings Ltd. Janet delivered the first Manning Clark annual Lecture in 2000.

The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG was appointed to the Court in February 1996. He has held numerous national and international positions including on the Board of CSIRO, as President of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands, as UN Special Representative in Cambodia and as President of the International Commission of Jurists. In 1991 he was appointed a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia. Justice Kirby delivered the second Manning Clark annual Lecture in 2001.

Phillip Adams AO is an author, broadcaster and film-producer, whose films include “The Getting of Wisdom” and “We of the Never Never”. Currently he has a column in The Australian sponsored by Rupert Murdoch and interviews on Late Night Live under the eagle eyes of Alan Jones and Donald McDonald.

Staff: Manning Clark House is run by office bearers and committee members.


President: Sebastian Clark


Sebastian has been President of MCH since 2000. His teacher’s career took him to Geelong, Melbourne and England. He helped his mother get A Historian’s Apprenticeship and Speaking Out of Turn ready for publication. His interests include the minutiae of history. In 2006 Sebastian wrote an addendum to the new edition of Manning Clark’s A Short History of Australia which brings the book right up-to-date, revealing many enduring parallels between the past and present.

Treasurer: Rowland Clark

Vice President: Luciana Todd

Secretary: Janet Wilson

Public officer: Roz Bischoff

Clark Family Representative: Andrew Clark


Andrew Clark is a former political correspondent of the National Times, and a former literary editor of The Age. Co-author of the book Kerr’s King Hit, he has given guest lectures at Yale University, the Budapest University of Economics and the Menzies Centre in London.

Committee members:

Penny Lockwood

Fleur Millar

Professor Nicholas Brown

Honorary Auditor

Pauline Hore

Honorary Solicitor

Bill Baker


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