Joseph Ebenezer Clarke was born at Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England, on 15 Jun 1829. His parents were John Thomas Clarke, a tailor and draper, and Ann Brilliania Clarke. Joseph was baptised at the parish of St James, Clerkenwell, on 29 Jun 1837 together with his sister Ann Maria and brothers John and William. Joseph was a hardwareman assistant before he sailed to Australia. He ran a coffee house business called 'London House' at 63 Bourke Street, Melbourne.
On 5 Feb 1861 Joseph married his first cousin Eliza Clarke at a Registrar's Office, Melbourne. Their first daughter Eliza was born in Melbourne two years later. Their second daughter Amy was born in Launceston on 11 Aug 1867, where Joseph conducted a business. His next venture was in the district of Fingal, the birthplace of his son Sidney on 22 Aug 1873. Joseph became involved in property development at St Marys. He established a successful store there in 1880, built cottages and a bank and advertised a boot and shoemaking business and house to let in Oct 1883.
Joseph and Eliza retired to 'Farnham', 78 Elphin Road, Launceston. The house was sold to the Methodist Ladies' College in the 1950s and was demolished. Joseph was on the general committee of the Tasmanian Exhibition in 1891-92, a member of the committee of the Launceston Mechanics' Institute and an ardent supporter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other charitable causes. Joseph died on 10 Apr 1904 at the age of 75. His wife Eliza died on 23 Nov 1909 aged 73. They were both buried at the Cypress Street Cemetery. Eliza, their daughter Amy Horne and son-in-law Arthur R Horne are also pictured in the Family Album.