12 Riverside Drive, South Grafton - the former residence of Sir Earle Page - was one of the properties sold at auction at Grafton Community Centre on Wednesday, 25th January, 2017.
12 Riverside Drive, South Grafton - the former residence of Sir Earle Page - was one of the properties sold at auction at Grafton Community Centre on Wednesday, 25th January, 2017. Ray White Grafton

Historic home goes under the hammer

ONE of the Clarence Valley's most historic homes has gone under the hammer.

12 Riverside Drive in South Grafton was the residence of the region's most prominent historic figures - Sir Earle Page - during his time as a practicing doctor and mayor of Grafton.

Ray White Real Estate Grafton marketing agent Lewis Campbell sold the property, located adjacent to Grafton Aged Care Home, at auction for $375,000 at Grafton Community Centre on January 25.

>> RELATED STORY: Buoyant times ahead for real estate market

The purchasers of 12 Riverside Drive would like to remain anonymous.

 

12 Riverside Drive, South Grafton - the former residence of Sir Earle Page - was one of the properties sold at auction at Grafton Community Centre on Wednesday, 25th January, 2017.
12 Riverside Drive, South Grafton - the former residence of Sir Earle Page - was one of the properties sold at auction at Grafton Community Centre on Wednesday, 25th January, 2017. Ray White Grafton

Sir Earle Page - a long chapter in Clarence Valley history

Born in Grafton on 8th August, 1880, Page was educated at Sydney Boys High School and graduated top of his class in medicine at the University of Sydney aged 20. In 1903 returned to Grafton and joined a private practice. In 1904 he became one of the first people in the country to own a car.

He later owned Clarence House in Through St, which was the first private hospital opened in Grafton in 1904, and lived nearby at 12 Riverside Drive. He served in Egypt as a medical officer during the First World War.

After the war Dr Page went into farming and was elected Mayor of Grafton. He was a founding member of the Country Party in 1920, became leader in 1921 - a position he held for 18 years - and held the balance of power in 1922.

On 30th January, 1924, as Acting Prime Minister, Dr Page chaired the first meeting of Federal Cabinet ever held in Canberra, at Yarralumla House. This was still three years before the opening of Parliament House and Canberra becoming the National Capital.

Dr Page was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George in the New Year's Day Honours of 1938.

After the sudden death of Prime Minister Joseph Lyons in April, 1939, Dr Page was made interim Prime Minister for 20 days before Robert Menzies was elected.

In 1949, Dr Page unsuccessfully proposed an increase to 12 Australian states including the formation of New England, encompassing a large area of northern New South Wales including Grafton. He also unsuccefully campaigned to build a dam on the Clarence River.

He was the first Chancellor of the University of New England at Armidale, which was established in 1954.

By the 1961 election, Page was gravely ill from lung cancer. Yet he refused to consider retiring from Parliament and soldiered on for his 17th general election.

Dr Page campaigned sporadically before going to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney for emergency surgery. He went comatose a few days before the election and never regained consciousness. He died, aged 81, on 20th December, 11 days after the election, without ever knowing that he had been defeated by Labor challenger Frank McGuren, who managed to win the seat on a swing of 13%.

At the time of his death, Dr Page has served continuously for 41 years and 361 days - the third longest serving federal parliamentarian behind Billy Hughes and Philip Ruddock, and the longest to serve in one set.

The Canberra suburb of Page, Earle Page College at the University of New England in Armidale, the Page Chest Pavilion and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, the Sir Earle Page Library and Education Centre in Grafton and the electoral division of Page - currently held by Nationals MP Kevin Hogan - are all named in his honour.



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