Grafton, New South Wales

Last updated

New South Wales
Australia New South Wales relief location map.png
Red pog.svg
Coordinates 29°41′0″S152°56′0″E / 29.68333°S 152.93333°E / -29.68333; 152.93333 Coordinates: 29°41′0″S152°56′0″E / 29.68333°S 152.93333°E / -29.68333; 152.93333
Population19,078 (2018) [1]
Postcode(s) 2460
Elevation5 m (16 ft)
LGA(s) Clarence Valley Council
County Clarence
State electorate(s) Clarence
Federal Division(s) Page
Mean max tempMean min tempAnnual rainfall
25.8 °C
78 °F
12.7 °C
55 °F
992.3 mm
39.1 in

Grafton is a city [2] in the Northern Rivers region of the Australian state of New South Wales. It is located on the Clarence River, approximately 608 kilometres (378 mi) by road north-northeast of the state capital Sydney. The closest major cities, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, are located across the border in South-East Queensland. At June 2018 Grafton had a population of 19,078. [1] The city is the largest settlement and administrative centre of the Clarence Valley Council local government area, which is home to over 50,000 people in all.

Northern Rivers Region in New South Wales, Australia

Northern Rivers is the most north-easterly region of the Australian state of New South Wales, located between 590 kilometres (370 mi) and 820 kilometres (510 mi) north of the state capital, Sydney, and encompasses the catchments and fertile valleys of the Clarence, Richmond and Tweed rivers. It extends from Tweed Heads in the north to the southern extent of the Clarence river catchment which lies between Grafton and Coffs Harbour, and includes the main towns of Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Ballina, Kyogle, Lismore, Casino and Grafton. At its most northern point, the region is 102 kilometres (63 mi) south south–east of the Queensland capital, Brisbane.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In December 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Clarence River (New South Wales) river in the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales, Australia

The Clarence River, a mature wave dominated, barrier estuary, is situated in the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales, Australia.



Before European settlement, the Clarence River marked the border between the Bundjalung [3] and Gumbaynggirr peoples, and so descendants of both language groups can now be found in the Grafton region.

Bundjalung people Aboriginal Australian people of northern coastal New South Wales

The Bundjalung people are Aboriginal Australians who are the original custodians of the northern coastal area of New South Wales (Australia), located approximately 550 kilometres (340 mi) northeast of Sydney, an area that includes the Bundjalung National Park.

Gumbaynggir are an Australian Aboriginal group on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. The Gumbaynggirr Nation is from Tabbimoble Yamba- Clarence River to Ngambaa-Stuarts Point, SWR- Macleay. The Gumbaynggirr have the largest midden-shell deposit in the Southern Hemisphere.

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.

<i>Toona ciliata</i> species of plant

Toona ciliata is a forest tree in the mahogany family which grows throughout southern Asia from Afghanistan to Papua New Guinea and Australia. It is commonly known as the red cedar, toon or toona, Australian red cedar, Burma cedar, Indian cedar, Moulmein cedar or the Queensland red cedar. It is also known as Indian mahogany. Indigenous Australian names include Polai in the Illawarra. Woolia on the Richmond River, Mamin & Mugurpul near Brisbane, and Woota at Wide Bay.

Richard Craig was a free settler in the Australian colony of New South Wales, a convicted criminal, an escaped convict, and a pardoned convict who worked as a stockman and drover.

In 1851, Governor FitzRoy officially named the town "Grafton", after his grandfather, the Duke of Grafton, a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. [4] Grafton was proclaimed a city in 1885. Local industries include logging, beef cattle, fishing/prawning, sugar, manufacturing and tourism.

Charles Augustus FitzRoy British military officer

Sir Charles Augustus FitzRoy was a British military officer, politician and member of the aristocracy, who held governorships in several British colonies during the 19th century.

Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton British noble

Augustus Henry FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton,, styled Earl of Euston between 1747 and 1757, was a British Whig statesman of the Georgian era. He is one of a handful of dukes who have served as Prime Minister.

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Head of UK Government

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, until 1801 known as the Prime Minister of Great Britain, is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, and, together with the Prime Minister's Cabinet,, is accountable to the Monarch, to Parliament, to the Prime Minister's political party and, ultimately, to the electorate for the policies and actions of the executive and the legislature.

The Grafton Bridge, connecting the main townsite with South Grafton, opened in 1932. It completed the standard-gauge rail connection between Sydney and Brisbane, and also forming a vital link for the Pacific Highway. Previously the only way to travel from Grafton to South Grafton was via ferry. As a result, South Grafton developed quite a separate identity, and in fact had its own municipal government from 1896 to 1956.

South Grafton, New South Wales Suburb of Clarence Valley Council, New South Wales, Australia

South Grafton is a suburb of Grafton, New South Wales, taking in most of the area of the city south of the Clarence River. At the time of the 2016 Australian census, South Grafton had a population of 6,068 people, about one-third of Grafton's total population.

Pacific Highway (Australia) highway in New South Wales and Queensland

The Pacific Highway is a 790-kilometre-long (490 mi) national highway and major transport route along the central east coast of Australia, with the majority of it being part of Australia's national route 1.

Heritage listings

Grafton has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton heritage-listed Anglican cathedral complex at Duke Street, Grafton, Australia

Christ Church Cathedral is a heritage-listed Anglican cathedral complex at Duke Street, Grafton, Clarence Valley Council, New South Wales, Australia. The cathedral was designed by John Horbury Hunt and built from 1874 to 1884 by Reynold Brothers (brickwork) and G. J. T. Lawson (woodwork). It is also known as Cathedral Church of Christ the King and Grafton Anglican Cathedral. The property is owned by the Anglican Diocese of Grafton. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 14 March 2003.

Grafton Correctional Centre prison in New South Wales, Australia

The Grafton Intake and Transient Centre, formerly the Grafton Correctional Centre and the Grafton Gaol, is a heritage-listed medium security prison for males and females, is located in Grafton, Clarence Valley Council, New South Wales, Australia. The centre is operated by Corrective Services NSW an agency of the Department of Attorney General and Justice of the Government of New South Wales. The centre detains sentenced and unsentenced felons under New South Wales and/or Commonwealth legislation. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

Grafton Bridge (New South Wales)

Grafton Bridge is a heritage-listed bascule bridge which spans the Clarence River in Grafton, New South Wales, Australia. It links the CBD with South Grafton, and carries the North Coast railway line. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.


At 30 June 2018 Grafton had a population of 19,078. [1]

From the 2016 census of Population:


Grafton has a humid subtropical climate with significantly more rainfall and higher temperatures in summer than in winter. Rainfall is lower than in stations directly on the coast, but monthly rain totals can often surpass 300 millimetres (12 in). The wettest month since records began was March 1974 when Cyclone Zoe produced a monthly total of 549.0 millimetres (21.61 in), whilst during periods of anticyclonic control and strong westerly winds monthly rainfall can be very low; for instance in August 2017 only 0.2 millimetres (0.01 in) fell. Grafton gets around 115.2 clear days on an annual basis. Grafton like many NSW regional centres, is affected by heatwaves in the summer months. On 12 February 2017 Grafton recorded a maximum temperature of 46.3, the town's highest recorded temperature since records began. [11]

Climate data for Grafton
Record high °C (°F)43.8
Average high °C (°F)30.1
Average low °C (°F)19.7
Record low °C (°F)12.8
Average rainfall mm (inches)138.9
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)10.711.
Average afternoon relative humidity (%)56605957575449434449525453
Source #1: Bureau of Meteorology [12]
Source #2: For February record high: Weatherzone [11]


Grafton is known and promoted as the Jacaranda City, in reference to its tree-lined streets and to the annual Jacaranda Festival. Inaugurated in 1935, Jacaranda is held each October/November. A half-day public holiday is observed locally on the first Thursday of November, the Festival's major focal day.

A half-day public holiday is also observed for the Grafton Cup horse race, held each year on the second Thursday in July. It is the high point of the city's annual Racing Carnival—Australia's largest and richest non-metropolitan Carnival—which takes place over a fortnight in that month.

Grafton is the birthplace of several renowned country music players. Local artist Troy Cassar-Daley received four Golden Guitar awards at the 2006 Tamworth Country Music Awards—the largest and most prestigious country music awards in Australia. At the same event Samantha McClymont, the 2005/2006 Grafton Jacaranda Queen and sister of Brooke McClymont, 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 popular music in Cold Chisel's song Flame Trees , written by band member Don Walker, who had lived in Grafton during his formative years.

Notable buildings

Christ Church Cathedral, designed by John Horbury Hunt, was consecrated in 1884 and is the seat of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton. [13]

Schaeffer House is a historic 1900 Federation house and contains the collection of the Clarence River Historical Society, which was formed in 1931. [14]


The Grafton Bridge over the Clarence River showing the bascule span lifted to let shipping through. (Postcard from about 1932; the Southern Cross aeroplane has been added to the photograph.) GraftonBasculeBridgeSpanLiftingCirca1932.jpg
The Grafton Bridge over the Clarence River showing the bascule span lifted to let shipping through. (Postcard from about 1932; the Southern Cross aeroplane has been added to the photograph.)

The MurwillumbahByron BayLismore railway (opened in 1894) was extended to Grafton's original railway station in 1905; [15] for details, see Murwillumbah railway line. The North Coast Line reached South Grafton's railway station 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.

Grafton also lies on the Pacific Highway, the main North–South road route through Eastern Australia, and links it to the Gwydir Highway, one of the primary East-West routes through Eastern Australia.

Busways Grafton is the operator for local town routes, as well as out-of-town routes to Junction Hill, Jackadgery/Cangai, Copmanhurst, and Maclean and Yamba.

Lawrence Bus Service operates a shopper service, as well as school service on school days, to and from Lawrence.

Northern Rivers Buslines operates a weekday service to Lismore via Maclean, Evans Head and Coraki.

NSW TrainLink provides a coach service to Byron Bay, connecting off the train from Sydney. It also offers a coach service to Moree via Glen Innes, connecting from the train from Brisbane.


From 1904 to 1917 the Grafton Copper Mining Company Ltd operated a copper mine, smelter and tramway at Cangai, [16] more than 100 km from Grafton via the Clarence and Mann rivers, today about 70 km over the Gwydir Highway. From 1952 to 1997, first as an independent company, then owned by Tooheys since 1961, the Grafton brewery provided Grafton Bitter to the North Coast. [17] The nearby 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).

Radio and television

Radio stations

Television channels

Pay television services are provided by Foxtel.

Of the three main networks, NBN produces an evening news bulletin containing regional, national and international news, screening every night at 6:00pm on Channel 9. Prime7 News produces a mid north coast new bulletin screening weeknights at 6:00pm. WIN Television produces news updates throughout the day, broadcast from the Wollongong studios.


Public schools

Independent schools

Defunct public schools

A large number of small (mostly one-teacher) public schools existed in the Grafton and Clarence Valley areas in the past. These schools have included:[ citation needed ]

Military history

During World War II, Grafton was the location of RAAF No.6 Inland Aircraft Fuel Depot (IAFD), completed in 1942 and closed on 29 August 1944. Usually consisting of 4 tanks, 31 fuel depots were built across Australia for the storage and supply of aircraft fuel for the Royal Australian Air Force and the US Army Air Forces at a total cost of £900,000 ($1,800,000). [20]

Notable people

Notable people who were born or lived in Grafton include:

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Cangai Copper Mine

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  1. 1 2 3 "3218.0 – Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2017-18: Population Estimates by Significant Urban Area, 2008 to 2018". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2019. Estimated resident population, 30 June 2018.
  2. "Grafton". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales . Retrieved 10 June 2019. OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
  3. Tindale, Norman (1974) "Badjalang" in his Catalogue of Australian Aboriginal Tribes. South Australian Museum Archived 2010-04-06 at the Wayback Machine
  4. 1 2 3 4 "The romance of Australian place names". The Australian Women's Weekly . National Library of Australia. 27 May 1964. p. 59. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  5. "Cathedral Church of Christ the King (inc. hall and cottages)". New South Wales State Heritage Register . Office of Environment and Heritage. H01654. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  6. "Grafton Correctional Centre". New South Wales State Heritage Register . Office of Environment and Heritage. H00809. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  7. "Grafton rail and road bridge over Clarence River". New South Wales State Heritage Register . Office of Environment and Heritage. H01036. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  8. "Saraton Theatre". New South Wales State Heritage Register . Office of Environment and Heritage. H01401. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  9. "Arcola – house, stables, garden, fence". New South Wales State Heritage Register . Office of Environment and Heritage. H00714. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  10. 2016 Census QuickStats
  11. 1 2 Over 40 Temperature Records Broken over the Weekend by Joel Pippard, Weatherzone, 13 February 2017
  12. "Climate statistics for Grafton". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  13. Diocese of Grafton. "Grafton Cathedral" . Retrieved 19 May 2006.
  14. About Us, Clarence River Historical Society
  15. Grafton—Rail Centre of the Clarence for 100 Years Milne, Rod Australian Railway Historical Society, November 2005, pp. 443–463
  16. "Assessment of Mineral Resources in the Upper North East CRA Study Area: A project undertaken as part of the NSW Comprehensive Regional Assessments November 1999". November 1999, New South Wales Government & Commonwealth Government. Retrieved on 6 May 2017.
  17. "Grafton fought hard to get a brewery" by Lachlan Thompson, The Daily Examiner , 29 October 2012
  18. "History of the Cathedral and the Close". Christ Church Cathedral Grafton. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  19. Alumny Creek Public School 125th Anniversary 1872–1997
  20. Australia. Royal Australian Air Force. Historical Section (1995), Logistics units, AGPS Press, ISBN   978-0-644-42798-2
  21. "Cohen, Fanny (1887–1975)". Australian Dictionary of Biographies. 1981. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  22. Colless, Matthew; Bhathal, Ragbir Singh) (Interviewer (21 March 2018). "Matthew Colless interviewed by Ragbir Bhathal in the Australian astronomers oral history project" . Retrieved 21 March 2018 via Trove.
  24. "Grafton Chinese Who Led the revolution", The Sydney Morning Herald , 26 September 1932, via Trove
Preceding station  NSW Main lines  Following station
towards  Border Loop
North Coast Line
towards  Maitland
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towards  Sydney