Terry Kass, author of the 150 Years of Grafton book for the Grafton sesquicentenary, at Schaeffer House.
Terry Kass, author of the 150 Years of Grafton book for the Grafton sesquicentenary, at Schaeffer House.

Grafton's rich history yields book

WHEN historian Terry Kass started delving into Grafton’s past, he never imagined he’d unearth a goldmine.

Mr Kass, of Sydney, is author of A History of Grafton, which he was commissioned to write by Clarence Valley Council in 2007 for last year’s sesquicentenary celebrations.

And, after re-working the book’s 100,000 words that he painstakingly put together over 18 months, Mr Kass is now being awarded a PhD for his thesis at the University of Technology Sydney.

“I used the history of Grafton to demonstrate the importance of regional history,” Mr Kass said of his thesis. “The region’s history does not necessarily equal that of the rest of the State.

“Regional history is very important, and interesting, in its own right,” he said.

He attributed the success of his research in part to the Schaeffer House-based Clarence River Historical Society.

“While most of the records I used are in Sydney, there was a lot of very useful material in Grafton – unlike a lot of places,” Mr Kass said.

“Grafton just stands out.”

Mr Kass said the historical society’s dedication to collecting items from its inception in the early 1930s was the main reason for the town being an historian’s treasure chest.

“Their material was excellent,” he said.

He said the society’s ‘extensive’ photographic collection, as well as a vast history of old deeds, letters and other correspondence, greatly added to his research.

“They also have Daily Examiner newspapers all the way back to 1859,” he said.

Mr Kass will be conferred the doctorate next Tuesday. He will officially celebrate his achievement at a graduation ceremony in May.



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