Grafton's heritage revealed in one family's history
GRAFTON'S beautiful old buildings are widely admired but just how much this heritage owes to the Schaeffer family of builders, architects and business people might come as a surprise.
The Clarence River Historical Society will host an exhibition on the Schaeffer family and its buildings in November.
Local history researcher Nita Child has spent months delving into archives, compiling hundreds of pages of information as well as maps, architectural drawings, photographs, portraits, letters and newspaper reports relating to several generations of the family.
Not content with her research work and her work at home on the farm, Nita is responsible for the blooming flower garden surrounding the museum.
Herman Schaeffer, a German-born former soldier and master builder who arrived in Australia in 1856, was one of Grafton's first builders.
His eldest son, Frederick William Conrad Schaeffer, became Grafton's first city architect in 1909.
His third son, Herman Emmanuel Gustav Peter Schaeffer, who began his business in his father's backyard in 1897, began his store, Schaeffers Hardware Store in 1899.
Many family members became involved in the cultural, community and business life of the city.
Descendants have donated a selection of artefacts for the exhibition.
The historical society and the state's oldest regional museum began in 1931 in the since- demolished Grafton city council building.
Today's museum, Schaeffer House, was designed and built by FWC Schaeffer as a gracious home for his family
Exhibitions include early women's fashions; 70 years of Jacaranda Queens; museum tours and the Schaeffer exhibition, including an afternoon tea opening, on November 17.
The museum is normally open from 1-4pm from Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday, call 66425212.
Entry is $5 for adults.