Life, times of Percy Clarence

Percy Clarence.
Percy Clarence.

EAGLE-EYED John McNamara came across a photo of a man and his family in The Daily Examiner's Historical Photos on May 6.

The Port of Yamba Historical Society research officer recognised the man as Percy Charles Clarence, one of the gentry in the Grafton district at the end of the 19th century.

He was kind enough to share this story of Percy Charles Clarence's life:

Percy Charles Clarence was born in England in 1856.

Percy married Marie Grovenor, whose birth was registered at Yass (the family probably lived at Boorowa) by Richard and Caroline A Grovenor in 1862, at Boorowa in 1884.

They had six sons and one daughter.

In 1886, Percy was appointed manager of Newbold Station, owned by Captain WAB Greaves, on the Clarence River and remained there for the next 30 years.

He was appointed a magistrate in 1896 and was elected to the Pastures and Stock Board in 1897.

This was renamed the Pastures Protection Board and he was elected chairman for the Grafton District in 1910, resigning in 1912.

He was also an active member of the Clarence River Jockey Club for many years and on the committees of Grafton Rowing Club and Grafton Golf Club.

Greaves sold Newbold Station in 1916 to C.F. Tindal and on January 13, Percy and Marie severed their connection with it.

He had purchased Camira Station near Whiporie from Mr Christie in 1914 and installed his son, Herbert, as manager until he left Newbold.

Before they left, the head stockman, C Sellers, presented them with a pair of field glasses and a fine tea and coffee service.

Four of Percy and Marie's sons, Harold, Edgar, Alton and Ralph, enlisted and served overseas during the First World War.

It must have been a very joyous occasion when a welcome home for all of them, with family and friends, was organised by Mrs W Crane at Roche's Hotel, Grafton in 1919.

From a title search, Percy Charles Clarence, grazier of Camira, purchased Allotments 11 and 12 of Section 20 fronting Church St, Yamba, from Catherine Eliza Henson, wife of Charles Ernest Henson of Maclean, cordial manufacturer, in 1921.

The Henson family had acquired the property in 1910 and constructed a holiday house upon it, which Percy renamed The Moorings and retired there.

The land is presently occupied by Phoenix Terrace Units at Number 9 Church St, Yamba.

Percy Clarence with his family.
Percy Clarence with his family.

In January 1925, Marie suddenly took ill and her sons were summoned, one from Mungundi, another from Sydney and the remaining four from Queensland.

She died at her residence on January 6, 1925, aged 61 and was buried at Grafton Cemetery.

Percy was appointed a trustee of Yulgilbar Station in 1925 but remained living at Yamba, probably being looked after by his sole daughter, Jessie, after the death of his wife.

In September, 1926, he did a nostalgic visit to Townsville which has been previously described.

In the March 30, 1926 issue of the Daily Examiner, a Public Notice was inserted by Morrison & Morrison, Auctioneers of Grafton, for private sale of The Moorings at Yamba on "A/c Percy Clarence or will rent furnished for a term to an approved tenant".

In the March 30, 1926 issue of the Daily Examiner, it was reported that on the 13th, well-known Yamba resident, Percy Clarence, left the district on the Burringbar to initially reside at Bombala.

Clarence eventually sold The Moorings in February, 1927 to Louisa Frances, wife of Charles George Coventry, grazier of Wollomombi (located between Armidale and Ebor), who retained it until 1944.

Surveyor William Greaves.
Surveyor William Greaves.

In 1928, he did a return trip to visit his brother in South Africa and was reportedly looking fit and well.

However, he passed away at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney on March 26, 1930 and was buried at Grafton Cemetery.

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