The Cox sisters of Grafton, Lorraine (left) and Patricia with author of of the book 'Yamba - The Next Thirty Years, John McNamara at the launch of the book at Yamba Museum.
The Cox sisters of Grafton, Lorraine (left) and Patricia with author of of the book 'Yamba - The Next Thirty Years, John McNamara at the launch of the book at Yamba Museum. Debrah Novak

Exploring the foundations of Yamba

A TIME of population and economic growth in Yamba, John McNamara's new book explores a pivotal time in history that helped shape the town as we know it today.

Yamba: The Next 30 Years - A History From 1885-1915 covers many of the key moments in history that have formed the foundations of Yamba's community.

"It covers that period of population growth and economic and social development in the town," Mr McNamara said.

"A number of key buildings were constructed including the church, school and police station and it laid the foundations of a close knit community.

"The Yamba surf club was created in 1908, and it wasn't till 1906 that mixed bathing was allowed on beaches during daylight hours... that's when tourism really got a big boost."

When Mr McNamara took over at the Yamba Historical Society as research officer, he was concerned a lot of the history they had was anecdotal.

"I've read every issue of the Clarence and Richmond Examiner from 1859 onwards," he said.

"I've created a newspaper index and there are now 26,000 entries in the index, so that formed the basis of the book because I was confident I had the right information.

"It took 10 years of research and it took three to put the book together."

Mr McNamara said the research for the book was like fitting together the pieces of a huge jigsaw puzzle.

"You might get an article or obituary 50 years later and it will tell you that information you wanted 50 years before and using that to fill in the gaps," he said.

The researcher had a lot of help getting the book ready for publication with Deirdre Lawrie proof reading the book and Malcolm Ford who put it all together.

"Pat Cox from Grafton launched the book for me, she's the granddaughter of Edward Albert Cox who was one of the prominent people of that period and features heavily in the book," he said.

Yamba - The Next 30 Years is available at The Yamba Historical Society, Maclean's Ferry Park and in the new year, it will be available at Schaeffer House.



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