Brisbane, QLD

Friday, November 2, 2012


Continuing our drive through country NSW we stumbled upon an historic little town between Young and Dubbo. Grenfell is a quaint,  old gold mining town. 

 There is a hotel on every corner a feature of gold mining towns.

 The hotels have been maintained as they were over 100 years ago.

I love the iron lacework, which has been kept nicely painted.

 The lovely old buildings have been maintained and still used today.
 In the main street we found a little shelter and a bust of Henry Lawson, a famous Australian author of short stories and ballads. He was a contemporary of Banjo Paterson and also wrote about Australian characters and way of life. One of my favourite stories is "The Drover's Wife".

The plaque announced that Henry Lawson was born in Grenfell in 1867. His father was a Norwegian miner called Larsen he changed his name to Lawson when Henry was born.

The family moved to the Mudgee area as Henry was growing up. That explains why I remember visiting "The Henry Lawson Museum" in Gulgong near Mudgee. Many of his stories were about this area.

His parents separated and he went to live in Sydney with his mother. He travelled around the country extensively and lived in England and New Zealand.  He aired his concern for republicism, unionism, poverty, a fair go for the working class and the vote for women. However his life was complex and difficult. He was persecuted by his peers and he turned to alcohol.


  1. enjoyed seeing some of Grenfell; don't think I've ever been there and it looks a neat country township. I've seen the Henry Lawson memorial out on the Home Rule Road, Mudgee, and also in Lawson Park in the centre of town. Interesting history, short though ours is compared to many others; it's still 'our' history

  2. Grenfull!!!!!!!!!!!
    I often visited when in Rotary,1970's, the Rotary Club was most progressive, but as for the rest of the town - well, I could never make it out.
    I have visited all those hotels and am suprised that they still manage to exist.
    Grenfull was one of the first country town that accepted the refugees as residents, whether they are still there, I don't know. It sure would have been a cultural shock for them. Hopefully these refugees have adapted?? There were plenty of empty homes and jobs on farming land to be done in the area.
    It really is great to see that the people of Grenfull take a civic pride in the town, it is certainly as you have pointed out steeped in Aussie "history".
    Now how on earth with the assistance of "Kate", your GPS thingy, would you go from Young to Dubbo via Grenfull - no wonder TOH was having fits - ha ha!
    Looks like a "Cooks Tour" that you did????
    But as your great photos of the streets of Grenfull, not one human to be seen?????
    Brilliant photos as always.
    PS: I will be amused and intrigued at what your "Kate" thingy does next.

  3. I did not know Lawson's father was from Norway. How interesting.

    I have a theory that many buildings in once prosperous towns survived intact because there was no money to modernise.

  4. Oops - apologoies Grenfell, not Grenfull. Well, it was the shock aspect of the "Kate" thingy - ha ha.

  5. What lovely old hotels! I'm sitting here thinking how the surroundings would have been 100 years ago without today's conveniences.
    The town is to be commended for keeping them preserved.

  6. I can assure you Carletta, that the rooms as shown from the hotel balconies are occupied, no toilets or bathrooms in the rooms, all well kept and spick and span.
    Ladies and Mens bathrooms would be at the end of the corridors. Single bank working people, single teachers at the local schools, road work people, electrical people for power lines, young police officers and the list goes on would be occupying the rooms.
    Without these "out of towners", these towns would die.
    They are also an economic boost to the community, they spend money.
    The locals appreciate them and so the reality of life in these small towns goes on. I know, been there, done that. They are a Godsend.
    Lose these country towns in any country and you lose your/their identity - I support them to the hilt.

  7. The Australian country town hotels look so uniquely Aussie - there's nowhere else they could be mistaken for.

    Poor old Banjo - how often do such revered writers have such awful endings, only to be discovered and loved afterwards?

  8. I'm so enjoying your trip through the countryside I have gown to love and enjoying Coin's comments as well.

    Every country town with the slightest link wants a piece of Lawson and Paterson. Lawson actually spent very little time in the bush but wrote about it so well.

  9. Hi Diane, what a lovely town. I prefer some of the old historic building over the more modern. The iron railing are beautiful. Interesting story about Henry. Wonderful post, thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend!

  10. Yep - Joan E. I lived in this area in the 70's, after PNG 63/69,
    born during the War so 40's late,
    50's. And in 70's in similar regions. The saying goes - "You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy". Not sure who said this, but
    truer words were never spoken.
    Cheers and thanks for the compliment.
    Colin (HB)

  11. The iron lacework is so beautiful, I liked it very much when in Australia.

  12. Oh poor Henry Lawson a wonderful talented man who fought hard for the people but to be persecuted that is very sad. I love your photos of fancy hotels I would not have know they are that old they look great.
    I can imagine how much hustle and bustle went on in that town. Thank you. B

  13. I love your trips. I doubt I'll ever get to Australia. Fun to see all the old little towns you run into.

  14. i like to picture in my mind the people that lived way back when these were built and how they looked and lived

  15. looks totally exotic to me
    and your pictures do look like a postcard !
    bon weekend

  16. You all have some of the most interesting architecture around there and I love hearing about the history, so different from ours.

  17. Those pubs do have a distinctive style. Is it my imagination or are these towns better preserved in states other than Victoria?

    "The Faces in the Street" epitomises what Lawson stood for, I think. But the Drover's Wife is also rather special for its time.

  18. When I see these houses, I always have to think of the TV serie The Flying Doctors. I grew up with it.


  19. That is a well-kept historical town. Henry Lawson (previously unknown to me) was obviously a forward thinker, ahead of his time ... that's what writers and artists should be, but they do often suffer for it.

    I appreciate the beautiful brigtness of your pictures!

  20. What a beautiful little town! I'd love to visit there one day.

  21. Lovely through there Diane....great photos of the hotels.

  22. Interesting info about Henry Lawson. Grenfell looks like a great old mining town. Love those old hotels. Neat!!! All of the buildings are in such good shape.. Wow!

  23. I do so hope that the town is kept as it is. It is so gorgeous and historic looking. Such a shame when they pull down old buildings and then build sky scrapers. Have a good Sunday Diane

  24. We have a lot of these along the way down South and up North, somehow these old buildings, if they're maintained, look a lot more appealing to the eye than some of their more modern counterparts.