Grafton, New South Wales

Grafton, New South Wales

Infobox Australian Place | type = town
name = Grafton
state = nsw

caption =
lga = Clarence Valley Council
postcode = 2460
pop = 17,380 Census 2001 AUS|id=UCL135000|name=Grafton (Urban Centre/Locality)|accessdate=2007-06-30|quick=on]
est = 1851
elevation = 5
maxtemp = 25.8
mintemp = 12.7
rainfall = 992.3
stategov = Clarence
fedgov = Page
dist1 = 640
location1 = Sydney
dist2 = 345
location2 = Brisbane

Grafton is the commercial hub of the Clarence River Valleywhich has a population approaching 20,000. Established in 1855, Grafton features many historic buildings and tree-lined streets. Located approximately 630 kilometres north of Sydney and 340 km south of Brisbane, Grafton and the Clarence Valley can be reached by road, rail or air.


Grafton, like many other settlements in the area, was first opened up to white settlement by the cedar-getters. An escaped convict, Richard Craig, 'discovered' the district in 1831. With the wealth of 'red gold' cedar just waiting for exploitation, he was given a pardon and one hundred pounds to bring a party of cedar-getters on the cutter 'Prince George' to the region. Word of such wealth to be had did not take long to spread and one of the arrivals was pioneer John Small on the 'Susan' in 1838, and he first occupied land on Woodford Island. 'The Settlement' (as the embryonic Grafton was then imaginatively named) was established shortly after.

In 1851, Governor FitzRoy officially named the town "Grafton", after his grandfather, the Duke of Grafton, a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Grafton was proclaimed a city in 1885. Local industries include, logging, beef cattle, fishing/prawning, sugar, manufacturing and tourism is a growing part of the local economy.

The town is also known for its double-decker road/railway bridge, opened in 1932, completing the standard gauge rail connection between Sydney and Brisbane. This bridge is a one of a kind and is a major feature on the Clarence River in Grafton.


Grafton is also known as the Jacaranda City, in reference to its tree-lined streets and annual Jacaranda Festival, held in October/November.

Grafton is also well known for the Grafton Cup horserace, held on the second Thursday in July. A half day holiday is observed in Grafton for the Cup day.

The people of Grafton have a large interest in country music. Local artist, Troy Cassar-Daley received four Golden Guitar awards in the 2006 Tamworth Country Music Awards — the largest and most prestigious country music awards in Australia. At the same awards event, Samantha McClymont, the 2005/2006 Grafton Jacaranda Queen also received an award for her country music talent.

A vision of Grafton with its numerous brilliantly-flowered trees in bloom, is immortalised in Australian music culture in Cold Chisel's song "Flame Trees".

Notable buildings

Christ Church Cathedral, designed by John Horbury Hunt was opened in 1884 and is the seat of the Anglican Bishop of Grafton. [cite web|url=|title=Grafton Cathedral|accessdate=2006-05-19|author=Diocese of Grafton]

Schaeffer House is a historic 1900 Federation house and contains the collection of the Clarence River Historical Society which was formed in 1931.


The MurwillumbahByron BayLismore railway (opened in 1894) was extended to Grafton in 1905 ["Grafton — Rail Centre of the Clarence for 100 Years" Milne, Rod Australian Railway History, November, 2005 pp443–463] . The North Coast Line reached South Grafton from Sydney in 1915. Pending the opening of the combined road and rail bascule bridge in 1932, Grafton had a train ferry to connect the two railways. Clarence Valley Regional Airport is the airport that services Grafton.


Harwood Mill is the oldest working sugar mill in New South Wales. The daily newspaper of Grafton is The Daily Examiner, owned by media conglomerate Australian Provincial Newspapers (APN), part of the media empire controlled by Irish magnate Tony O'Reilly.

Born in Grafton

* Sir Earle Page (8 August 1880 – 20 December 1961), Prime Minister of Australia, 1939
* Brent Livermore (July 5 1976 – ), Australian field hockey midfielder
* Dr Elizabeth Annette Essex-Cohen (21 April 1940 – 21 March 2004), gained international recognition as an ionosphere physicist with her pioneering work on the Global Positioning System (GPS); a brass plaque was presented on her behalf at her former high school, Grafton High, the year after she died [cite web|url=|title=Essex-Cohen, Elizabeth Annette|accessdate=2008-06-18|author=University of Melbourne]
* Iven Giffard Mackay (7 April 1882 – 30 September 1966), Lieutenant General
* Sir Grafton Elliot Smith (15 August 1871 – 1 January 1937), an anatomist and palaeoanthropologist.

Radio stations

*2GF 1206 AM/103.9 FM (commercial)
*FM 104.7 (commercial)
*JJJ 91.5 FM/96.1 FM
*ABC Northern Rivers 738 AM/94.5 FM
*Classic FM 97.9 FM/95.3 FM
*Radio National 99.5 FM/96.9 FM
*Racing Radio 101.5 FM
*Life FM 103.1 (community)


*McAuley Catholic College
*South Grafton High
*Grafton High
* [ Clarence Valley Anglican School]
* [ St. Andrews Christian School]
*Maclean High
*The Cathederal School


External links

* [ Photographs of Grafton in 1994, National Library of Australia]

ee also

*Grafton Correctional Centre

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