End of an era for Junction Hill pioneers
AFTER 55 years living in Junction Hill, Rex and Lorraine Grayson have decided it is time to downsize and take a hard-earned rest from the household chores, gardening and mowing to maintain the large family home.
Rex and Lorraine, now aged 79 and 80, moved to Junction Hill in early 1963 when Rex was a young boiler maker and timber worker, and started work at Corbett Timbers at Koolkhan.
The couple had two small children Christine (3) and Raymond (1), and the year they moved to Junction Hill third child David arrived to complete the family.
The family lived in one of the original mill flats at 6 Edgecombe Ave from 1963 to 1973 where they worked hard saving for their own home by growing all their own veggies, Lorraine sewing and cooking for the family and volunteering in the Junction Hill community.
Rex built for the family and neighbours, plus helped build lots of machinery and trailers, and general community support.
The couple were part of a small group of friends who fundraised and collected ant hills for the very first tennis court in the suburb, even going door to door to sell bricks to help start the Junction Hill Tennis Club.
Waterskiing on the mighty Clarence River was a favourite pastime on summer weekends, and lots of family friends were made during these times.
They saved enough to buy their first block of land at 30 Casino Rd, owner-building the family home and moving in on September 10, 1973.
The couple stayed at this address until this year, recently selling for $335,000 with the help of Ray White Real Estate agent Lewis Campbell on November 9, who made the final settlement with the proud new owners yesterday.
The years at the family home saw the many engagements, birthdays, parties and good times, as well as the not so good, but all in all a very happy place for their six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren to visit.
"It is now time for a new family to share their own memories for with many years to come," daughter Christine Butcher said.
Lorraine worked for many years at Langleys Cafe and was well-known for her hundreds of cake decorating designs, winning many prizes at the Grafton, Maclean and Coffs Harbour shows. She would play tennis up to four times a week up until health took its toll about a year ago, and something she now misses deeply.
Many of Rex's amazing timber and welding jobs in the community still stand, including at the courts, and several mills between Killarney, Koolkan, Cessnock and surrounds. Many trailers have been made and left the district for towing gear all around the country.
"There is not a thing Dad could not create, build or fix when broken," the family said. "Not bad for a young boy who finished school at around 14."
Aeriel photos taken by Rex during flood times during 1963 and 1964 showed Junction Hill was a far cry from the thousands of homes there now.
The decision to move comes with much sadness for the couple due to ill health in recent years. The downsizing will certainly free up the worry for their family and many things that go with running a large home.
Lorraine and Rex's children urge family and friends who wish to catch up with the couple in their new abode at Clarence Village to give them a call, pop in and join them for a cuppa or cold ale.
"They would so love to see all their old friends and mates."