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New South Wales, Australia

The Grafton Bridge across the Clarence River.

Grafton is located in New South Wales
Population: 17,501[1]
Established: 1851
Postcode: 2460
Coordinates: 29°41′S 152°56′E / -29.683, 152.933Coordinates: 29°41′S 152°56′E / -29.683, 152.933
Elevation: 5 m (16 ft)
LGA: Clarence Valley Council
State District: Clarence
Federal Division: Page
Mean Max Temp Mean Min Temp Annual Rainfall
25.8 °C
78 °F
12.7 °C
55 °F
992.3 mm
39.1 in

Grafton is reachable by road from Sydney and Brisbane on the Pacific Highway (Highway 1)

The city of Grafton is the commercial hub of the Clarence River Valley. Established in 1851, Grafton features many historic buildings and tree-lined streets. Located approximately 630 kilometres north of Sydney and 340 km south of Brisbane, Queensland, Grafton and the Clarence Valley can be reached by road, rail or air. At the 2006 census, Grafton had a population of 17,501 people.[1]


Before European settlement, the Clarence River marked the border between the Bundjalung[2] and Gumbainggir nations, and so descendants of both language groups can now be found in the Grafton region.

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, and also forming a vital link for the Pacific Highway. 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 horse race, held yearly on the second Thursday in July. A half day holiday is observed in Grafton for the Cup day.

Grafton is the birthplace of several renowned country music players. 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 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 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 Diocese of Grafton.[3]

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;[4] for details, see Murwillumbah railway line. 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.

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.)

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.


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.


Notable people from Grafton include:

  • Peter Drysdale (born 1938), economist
  • Adam Eckersley, musician
  • Nick Emmett, Rugby League player
  • James Eggins (1898–1952), politician
  • Elizabeth 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)[5]
  • Gary Foley (born 1950), Aboriginal activist, academic, writer
  • Benjamin and Joshua Garden from the band Grafton Primary
  • Charles Hercules Green (1919–1950), officer
  • George Green (1883–unknown), Rugby League player
  • Bill Hirschberg (1880–unknown), Rugby Union player
  • Robyn Lambley (born 1965), politician
  • Jim Lisle (1939–2003), Rugby League and Rugby Union player
  • Brent Livermore (born 5 July 1976), field hockey midfielder
  • The McClymonts, country music group consisting of sisters Brooke, Samantha and Mollie
  • Frank McGuren (1909–1990), politician
  • Iven Giffard Mackay (7 April 1882 – 30 September 1966), Lieutenant General
  • Bill McLennan (born 1942), statistician
  • Chris Masters (born 1948), journalist
  • Warren Mundine (born 1956), Aboriginal politician
  • Kevin Nichols (born 1955), track cyclist
  • Sir Earle Page (8 August 1880 – 20 December 1961), Prime Minister of Australia, 1939
  • Ruby Payne-Scott (1912–1981), pioneer in radiophysics and radio astronomy
  • Frank Partridge (1924–1964), recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Cameron Pilley (born 1982), squash player
  • Eddie Purkiss (born 1934), Rugby Union player
  • Tyrone Roberts (born 1 June 1991), Newcastle Knights footballer.
  • Henry Ernest Searle (1866–1889), rower
  • Sir Grafton Elliot Smith (15 August 1871 – 1 January 1937), anatomist and palaeoanthropologist.
  • James Tully (1877–1962), politician
  • Brenda Walker (born 1957), writer
  • Arthur Bache Walkom (1889–1976), palaeobotanist and museum director
  • Bill Weiley (1901–1989), politician
  • Danny Wicks (born 1985), former Rugby League player
  • Graham Wilson, Rugby League footballer of the 1960s
  • Walter George Woolnough (1876–1958), geologist
  • Beau Young (born 1974), singer-songwriter, surfer


Grafton has a humid subtropical climate with hot, wet and muggy summers, and mild, drier winters.

Climate data for Grafton
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30.1
Average low °C (°F) 19.7
Precipitation mm (inches) 138.9
Source: [6]

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)

Television channels[]

  • Prime7, 7Two, 7mate, (Seven Network affiliated channels)
  • NBN Television, GEM HD, Go! (Australian TV channel), owned and operated by the (Nine Network)
  • Southern Cross Ten, One HD, and Eleven, (Network Ten) affiliated channels
  • ABC Television including ABC1, ABC2, ABC3 and ABC News 24, part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Special Broadcasting Service, SBS One and SBS Two

Pay television services are provided by Austar.

Public schools[]

Independent schools[]


External links[]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

See also[]

  • Grafton Correctional Centre

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Grafton, New South Wales. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.