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Dymphna Clark
, 1991

by Heide Smith

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 61.4 cm x 43.3 cm, image: 49.8 cm x 40.0 cm)

Dymphna Clark (1916-2000), linguist, translator, chatelaine and matriarch, was born Hilma Dymphna Lodewyckx in Melbourne. Of Swedish and Belgian extraction, she learned Swedish from her mother and grandmother. Spending a year in Germany in 1933, she returned to Melbourne to study German at the University of Melbourne. Here she met Manning Clark, later Australia's most influential historian. Marrying at Oxford, the Clarks lived in Canberra from 1949 onward; that year, Manning became inaugural Professor of History at the Canberra University College (later the ANU). In their Forrest home Dymphna raised her six children and entertained countless visitors at meals prepared with produce from her own garden. From the 1960s she taught in the German department at ANU. Her translations include several of Manning's books and, notably, The New Holland Journal of Count Carl Von Hugel (1994). The Clarks spent much time at their property at Wapengo, NSW, where Dymphna, an avid plantswoman, revegetated large areas with volunteers.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2005
Accession number: 2005.115