The Museum and Research Room is housed in Schaeffer House at 190 Fitzroy Street, Grafton. This was the home of Grafton's first Architect, built in c. 1900.
What We Do
The Clarence River Historical Society consists entirely of volunteers who maintain, develop and promote the collections of the Museum and the Research Room.
Read our Newsletter for the latest information on what is happening.
The Society welcomes volunteers. If you would like to become a volunteer, please print out a Membership Form, and send to the address indicated on the form.
An Examiner editorial in 1906 suggested that a local museum was needed in the Grafton district but, at the time, nothing came of the proposal. Grafton had, however, been blessed with a number of amateur, though competent, historians.
Thomas Bawden, as President of the School of Arts, gave three lectures in 1886 on the early history of Grafton. Having arrived on the Clarence in 1840 he was among the first settlers and a witness to over forty years of progress.
Robert Craigie Law, a Grafton solicitor, was another historian who chronicled the every day life of the district. His collection of newspaper clippings and personal notes eventually filled 63 volumes.
In 1931 Sir Earle Page suggested the establishment of a historical records museum, which was named the Clarence River Historical Society, with R. C. Law as Secretary.
In 1935 the society affiliated with the Royal Australian Historical Society, the first country historical society to do so.
The Council provided a room in the Council Chambers for meetings and to house the collection and the incumbent Mayor held the position of President up until 1957. R. C. Law remained Secretary until 1946 and was librarian until his death in 1952.
The Society’s records and growing collection were housed in the Council Chambers until 1966 when the Council purchased Schaeffer House at a cost of $5300 and spent a further $7500 on repairs and renovations. Schaeffer House was officially opened on 30th October 1967.
A Research Room was added in 1998 and a storage facility was rented in South Grafton to house the overflow of the Society's collection.
By 1970 financial members of the society numbered 42; in 2018 there are 138 members and 21 institutions to which we send our newsletter. In 2003 the Australian Tax Office granted Tax Deductibility Status to the Society for donations over $2.00.