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New South Wales


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Grafton Local History

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Grafton is a charming city located in the Clarence Valley, New South Wales, Australia. It is situated on the banks of the mighty Clarence River and is surrounded by lush green hills. The city has a rich cultural and historical heritage that dates back to the mid-1800s.

The city of Grafton was established in 1851, during the gold rush era. It was named after Governor Fitzroy's grandfather, Charles Fitzroy, who was the Duke of Grafton. The first settlers in the area were primarily farmers and timber cutters who came to the region in search of fertile land and timber. The town quickly became a hub for the timber industry due to the availability of large amounts of quality timber in the surrounding areas.

In the late 1800s, Grafton became an important river port for the transportation of goods and passengers. The large paddle steamers that plied the Clarence River were a common sight during this era. The city soon became a commercial hub for the surrounding agricultural areas and served as a major centre for shipping and commerce.

The Grafton Bridge, which spans the Clarence River and connects the city to South Grafton, was constructed in 1932. It is a magnificent steel arch bridge and is one of the major landmarks in the city. At the time of its construction, it was the largest steel arch bridge in the southern hemisphere. The bridge is still in use today and is an iconic symbol of Grafton.

The city has a significant Aboriginal heritage. The Ngarabal people were the original inhabitants of the area before the arrival of European settlers. The Ngarabal people were hunters and gatherers who lived in the region for thousands of years. The city of Grafton is a major centre for Aboriginal art and culture and hosts several cultural events throughout the year.

One of the most significant events in the city's history is the Grafton Jacaranda Festival. The festival was first held in 1935 and was started as a way to promote tourism in the area. It is now a major event on the New South Wales calendar and attracts thousands of visitors to the city each year. The festival is held in November, when the city's jacaranda trees are in full bloom. The festival features a street parade, live music, art and craft exhibitions and a variety of other cultural events.

The Grafton Regional Art Gallery is another important cultural institution in the city. The gallery was established in 1988 and houses a collection of over 3,000 artworks. The gallery hosts exhibitions by local and national artists and also offers a range of educational programs for visitors of all ages.

The city of Grafton has a rich history, a vibrant art and culture scene and is a major centre for tourism in the region. Whether you are interested in history, art or just want to explore the scenic beauty of the Clarence Valley, Grafton is definitely worth a visit.

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Grafton Bridge over the Clarence River