A HISTORY OF THIS PLACE
Anglicans have been worshiping in Grafton since 1842 from a wooden church to a now almost complete Cathedral building the Clarence Valley has a rich Anglican heritage
The first stage of Grafton Cathedral was completed during the episcopacy of Bishop Turner. The new Cathedral was opened and dedicated on 25 July 1884.
It was designed by John Horbury Hunt, a sometimes controversial architect, whose other work in Northern New South Wales includes:
Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle
St. Peter's Cathedral, Armidale
White family mansion "Booloominbah", now part of the University of New England and
"Trevenna" currently occupied by that institution's Vice-Chancellor.
His forte was building in brick, influenced by English country houses.
The Cathedral Close consists of the area in which is located the Cathedral, the Cathedral Parish Centre, the Ministry Centre, the Bookshop, the Clarence Valley Anglican School Junior campus (formerly The Cathedral School), as well as several residences including the Deanery, Bishopsholme and other houses previously used as clergy residences.
The oldest building in the Close is the most northerly red brick cottage facing Duke Street. The building was constructed around 1856 and restored in 1984. It is currently used by the Parish clergy for their offices and is known as the Ministry Centre.
The cottage next to the Ministry Centre was built circa 1891 only a few years after the Cathedral. Like its neighbour, it was restored in 1984. This cottage known as "Greenway Cottage", currently houses the Cathedral's Music department with an office for the Director of Music, choir rehearsal room and choir robing room.
The Hunt Hall, also designed by Horbury Hunt was completed in 1890. Adjoining the hall is the Cathedral Parish Centre, completed in 1976 and incorporating the Parish Office, a kitchen area and The Edwards Hall (in lieu of a chapter house). The bell tower was moved from its original site near the first church when the new Cathedral was opened in 1884.
The imposing multi-storied Clarence Valley Anglican School, Junior campus (formerly The Cathedral School) was built in 1954 initially as a Youth and Synod Centre. In 1962 an extention was added for the Bishop's Registry. In 1998 the building was handed over to establish The Cathedral School, and the Bishop's Registry moved to a commercial premises further down Victoria Street.
Of the residences on the close, the Deanery is the oldest being built in 1872. At one time it would have overlooked the original wooden church which was built in 1854, situated closer to the street corner and demolished in 1900. A stone marker topped by a metal cross (inside the school grounds) marks the site of the original Anglican Church building in Grafton.
The Registrar's residence, McWilliam Lodge, built around 1910 and renovated in 1991, was named after the first registrar of the Diocese. Bishopholme is also situated atop the river bank and was completed in 1924. Both houses have sweeping views of the river. The two timber Californian bungalows on the northern side of Victoria Street which serve as homes for the Parish Clergy and staff were constructed during the 1920's and renovated in the 1980's.
The side of the Close facing the Clarence River provides views across to South Grafton and a pleasant walk west along the levee. Indications of flood heights show why the river has been an integral part of the City's and indeed the Church's history from the earliest days..