Clifton & District Progress Association Inc

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Clifton History

imageIt is November 1840. The first settlers in the district were Joseph King and John Sibley who occupied a triangular shaped humpy on the bank of King's Creek, halfway between Nobby & Clifton. The land is sold to Sir Francis Forbes, Australia'a Chief Justice. Forbes sold to James M. Marsh, who named the township CLIFTON, after his English birthplace.


1869- The railway comes to town. James Mowen, establishes the first business - a shop selling goods to railway workers and families, later on adding the Redbank Hotel. Mowen acquired land, built more hotels, houses and blacksmith shops, also having numerous cattle, sheep, horses and birds, all of which were sold upon his death in 1897. A small cairn opposite the former Bank of New South Wales in Clark St refers. Mowen, the Father of Clifton, and well-known benefactor lies at rest under the Catholic Church. image


By 1900 Clifton was a busy & flourishing town, the centre of a thriving farming community. At least 6 hotels. To view properties & real estate, buyers came by horse & buggy or train. Accommodation was available at all hotels, all hotels and stables. Hoteliers had their families living on the premises. Winifred Hurley. 1985, husband John (& also Licence of the Arms Hotel) is sentenced to gaol for assult. He transfers the licence to Winifred. She stays to run the pub, the stables, organise meals, etc for guests as well as caring for her family of eleven children.


Entertainment came - Horse Racing, Trotting and Coursing (dog racing) were diversions from the daily slog of life on the land. The Clifton Butter Factory first accepted cream in 1908. The original wooden building became too small and was replaced with a much larger brick Factory in 1933. First Class Butter was produced until 1966. As more farmers switched from dairy to grain growing, there was not enough cream, which lead to the closure in 1966. In Fish St, Rickert's Hall opened in 1911 and was used for many social gatherings. Roller skating was the new "must do". The movie projector was purchased in 1937. Sloping floor & canvas seats installed. (Remember the Jaffas) Television arrived which led to the decline of all theatres. The theatre still operates & is available for hire.



If you put yourself on the front steps of the former Council Chambers, a good sturdy construction built 1940, (crn King St & Meara Place) picture this..... it's 1900-35 looking down King Street, can't you see the dirt roadway bustling with buggies, carts and wagons morphing into trucks, tractors, cars and paved surfaces. The homes in Kates, John, Norman and Queen Streets precincts feature many timbered homes dating to pre-Federation & are some of the oldest homes in Clifton. Notice the unusual roof "crowns", wooden spires atop gabled roofing and lots of old fashioned character. 1911-15.... Sister Elizabeth Kenny, ridiculed & renowned for her innovative treatment of polio patients established a bush nursing hospistal, St Canice's, in Norman Street. Unfortunately the actual location is unknown. (The Sister Kenny Museum is located at Nobby). Sister Kenny was buried at Nobby cemetery.