From CRHS Newsletter #11 - 27th January, 1993.
GRAFTON'S FIRST HOTELS
by Colin Jarvis.
Saturday, 19th September, 1992, marked the 150th Anniversary of the granting of a licence for the first hotel on the north bank of the Clarence River at Woolport. Grafton was then called Woolport. The first two hotels were on the south bank of the river at which was then known as The Settlement, now South Grafton.
The licence was granted to Thomas Hewitt on the 19th December, 1842 for the Woolpack Inn. It was situated in the area west of Alumny Creek, bounded by the north bank of the river, Turf and Pound Streets. This area was also the site of the first store on the north side known as Bentleys, which was later taken over by Hewitt, who became Graftons first auctioneer in 1848. He was in the hotel until 1853, then William Collie had the hotel until 1856. Hewitt again went into the hotel but nothing further is known of the Woolpack. In the Clarence & Richmond Examiner of the 17th December, 1874, Thomas Hewitt informs his friends and the public of the Clarence River that he has obtained a licence and has opened his premises as the Turf Hotel, on the corner of Turf and Pound Streets, near the site of the present railway gates. The hotel traded until 28th August, 1887, when Mrs. S. A. Hewitt advertised it for sale, as she was leaving the district. Thomas had died in 1876. About 1890 it was taken over as a private boarding house by Robert White and later was unoccupied and was burnt down on the 1st January, 1895. There was now no hotel in that part of the town until the new Imperial was built, now the Village Green, and was opened on the 5th January, 1904, with Abraham J. Clark from Muswellbrook as licensee.
The first two hotels on the south side were the Settlers Arms, licensed 9th July, 1842 by James Durno, near the mouth of Christophers Creek, and near the former Webber’s Sawmill where the hulk of the old train ferry, Induna, now lies in the mud; and the Clarence, licensed 3rd August, 1842, by Patrick Bernie and situated a few kilometers south of Copmanhurst at Red Rock, opposite the site of Commissioner Fry’s headquarters and Police Barracks on the north bank. It is said that the exact site of Fry’s headquarters is where the existing power lines cross the Clarence River.